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Obstructive Sleep Apnea - Symptoms and Treatments

Around 20 million Americans are suffering from sleep apnea. A person with sleep apnea stops breathing while sleeping. A person can stop breathing from a few times to hundreds of time during sleep. When this happens, the brain comes out of the deeper stages of sleep and the person becomes partially awakened. The brain does this to start breathing again. This condition decreases the quality of sleep and leads to some other medical conditions.  


There are the following three types of sleep apnea:

1.      Obstructive Sleep Apnea

2.      Central Sleep Apnea

3.      Mixed Sleep Apnea/Complex Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent form of sleep apnea. This form of sleep apnea often goes unrecognized. However, there are several options available when it comes to sleep apnea treatment such as sleep apnea machine. So, in this article, you are going to learn about the symptoms and treatments for obstructive sleep apnea.           

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

It is estimated that 2% of women and 4% of men are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Only 10% of these men and women seek sleep apnea treatment. The remaining 90% don't even get diagnosed.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

This condition occurs due to partial blockage or complete blockage of airways while sleeping. While sleeping, relaxed muscles in the throat allow fatty tissues of the throat and/or tongue to block airways. This blocks airflow. As air is restricted due to obstruction, blood flow to the brain is reduced. A signal is sent to the brain and the brain comes to the partially awakened state knowing that the body needs to breathe. This can be followed by choking, loud gasping or snorting sounds. After taking a deep enough breathe, the person once again falls asleep. The entire process is repeated again. Depending on the severity of obstructive sleep apnea, this might be repeated from a few times to several hundred times.

Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
Obstruction occurs 5 to 14 times in an hour.
Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
Obstruction occurs 15 to 30 times in an hour.
Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
Obstruction occurs 30+ times in an hour.

Other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea:

     Loud, disruptive and regular snoring are obvious signs obstructive sleep apnea.  
     Frequent breaks in breathing are also obvious signs of this condition. These breaks in breathing are followed by choking or gasping noises as the respiratory system fights the blockage.      
     Due to frequent interruptions while sleeping, the person might feel excessive daytime sleepiness. 
     The bloodstream flowing to the brain is oxygen-deprived. This often causes morning headaches.    
     The mind and body of the patient constantly remain awakened throughout the night. So, the patient has fitful sleep.
     Quality-deprived sleep can adversely affect the well-being of the patient. People with obstructive are often short-tempered. This can cause irritability and depression.   

Sleep Apnea Treatment

There are three options available for sleep apnea treatment including:
Positive airway pressure (PAP) Therapy (Bilevel positive airway pressure, Continuous positive airway pressure and Automatic positive airway pressure)

Oral Appliances (sleep apnea machines such as Tongue retaining mouthpieces and Mandibular advancement devices)

Surgery (Nasal Surgery, Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, Maxillomandibular Advancement and Adenotonsillectomy)
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