Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by intermittent breathing lapses during the sleep cycle. Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s airways become blocked or partly blocked during sleep. The blockage occurs when the soft palate or the base of the tongue collapse at the back of the throat, causing loud snoring, temporary obstruction in nighttime breathing and daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea prevents you from getting the rest you need because your body is actually fighting for air when you are sleeping.
Sleep apnea can also cause serious changes in the cardiovascular system. Daytime hypertension (high blood pressure) is common. Apnea is commonly seen with obesity, high blood pressure, smoking and in older males. The condition, which affects 2 percent to 4 percent of middle-aged men and women, is more common in the obese because fat deposits in the neck place an added burden on the throat. As it is the snoring that is considered the problem, it is for this reason that sufferers (and often their spouses) tend to seek treatment.
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed and affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S., according to “Sleep Disorders Sourcebook.” It is a progressive condition (gets worse as you age) and should not be taken lightly. Sleep apnea and related sleep disorders can be mild to severe depending upon on the degree of air blockage to one’s lungs. Such can lead to serious health related issues and can even be life-threatening if untreated and you should consult your doctor immediately if you feel you may suffer from it. Sleep apnea might be as frightening a condition that you can ever think of. However, the right mode of treatment and initiatives from your personal end can help to combat sleep apnea and thus treat it with ease.