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Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Explained

Sleep Apnea is a condition that plagues an alarming number of people. In short, it is a condition that is defined as short, intermittent pauses in breathing. Essentially, you stop breathing for a short period of time. It is a condition that can even be life threatening.

Sleep apnea has many affects on a person's life, especially sleep quality. These intermittent pauses in breathing result in a much lighter sleep, and make getting a restful night's sleep even harder. Most people who suffer from sleep apnea don't even know they have it. Symptoms of sleep apnea include dry throat, grogginess or morning irritability, headache, and frequent night waking.

Sleep Apnea

The surest way to diagnose sleep apnea is to go to a sleep lab and participate in a sleep study. In this situation, a team will monitor your vitals and monitor you through the night. A PSG, or polysomnogram will most often be performed to check brain activity, amounts of oxygen in the blood, and even eye movement.

There are many risk factors of sleep apnea. Weight gain, or obesity can be a cause of sleep apnea. As fat accumulates around the neck and specifically the windpipe, when we sleep on our backs, it pushes against the windpipe and makes breathing more difficult. Also, a family history of sleep apnea puts you at greater risk of developing it yourself. Also, often people who suffer from sleep apnea also snore. Snoring is a sign that your airway is restricted.

If your doctor diagnoses you with sleep apnea, there are many treatments available. One of the easiest ways to deal with sleep apnea is to lose weight. Even losing twenty percent of your overall body weight can cause a great increase in overall health. Putting yourself in a normal weight range for your height, age, body type and sex will go a long way in preventing sleep apnea as well as other conditions. Also, quitting smoking helps to reduce the likelihood of sleep apnea. If you suffer from allergies, be sure to treat your allergies to keep your breathing passages as clear as possible.

Additionally, if there are no other options, your doctor may prescribe a breathing device or a mouthpiece. As a last resort, sometimes surgery is necessary. Surgery performed for sleep apnea usually consists of removing extra tissue that is obstructing the breathing process.

The best and longest lasting results will be received through lifestyle changes such as the ones listed above. But if sleep apnea continues to plague you after you have accomplished these, you can always try the traditional medical options such as breathing devices or if necessary, surgery.

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