Sleep apnea is one of the most commonly seen sleep disorder and affects around 18,000,000 Americans. A sleep disorder that is characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep, it is also indisputably the most dangerous of all sleep disorders because it deprives the brain of critical oxygen and can sometimes prove to be fatal.
There are two very separate forms of this disorder. Central sleep apnea is essentially a neurological disorder where breathing is interrupted as a result of signals sent from the brain. Obstructive sleep apnea is essentially a mechanical problem where the windpipe is obstructed either by too much tissue or by the unusual relaxation or collapse of the muscles around the windpipe. In either case however the results are basically the same with recurrent interruptions to normal breathing that deprive the brain of oxygen and put the sufferer at greater risk from things like high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
Sadly, diagnosing the condition can prove to be a problem because snoring, which is a common symptom and frequently results in sleep apnea being known as the snoring disease, is also commonly seen as a symptom of several other medical conditions. Snoring is certainly generally present in cases of sleep apnea because the brain counters a drop in oxygen by awakening the sufferer enough to restart breathing and this usually results in snoring. sleep health
This repeated awakening through the night also causes a poor overall quality of sleep and it is quite common for sufferers to wake up in the morning feeling even more tired than they were when they went to bed. This also results in feelings of exhaustion during the day and an overwhelming need to sleep.
But, tiredness resulting from poor quality sleep is only part of the picture and various other symptoms will also generally be present including headaches in the morning, forgetfulness and a problem in concentrating.
Without treatment the accumulating exhaustion from sleep apnea may produce serious psychological problems starting with irritability and progressing to depression with obvious changes in both mood and behavior.
Both forms of the condition can be treated and, provided the problem is diagnosed at an early stage, treatment can often be relatively simple. For example, mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea caused by nasal congestion can normally be treated with nothing more than a course of decongestants. Also, a lot of cases that are not too severe may be treated with the use of a mask that is worn during sleep and that delivers a constant pressure of air to keep the airway open. Lastly, in the most severe cases of sleep apnea surgery might be needed and can be very effective, though it can also result in a variety of complications and must be considered with caution.
Perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind with sleep apnea is that as it carries with it the potentially fatal risk of respiratory failure sufferers ought not to be tempted to use sleeping pills or to use other forms of sleep enhancers without the approval of a doctor.
Natural sleep remedies without question complement prescribed medication and herbs which are intended to improve both the quality and duration of sleep may assist in managing the excessive daytime sleepiness frequently brought on by sleep apnea. Similarly, things like aromatherapy, chromatherapy and guided relaxation and meditation can help to combat the insomnia and anxiety that go together with sleep apnea.