Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is no joke. While the underlying problems behind this disorder are considered a laughing stock by those who haven’t experienced this condition, it should be taken seriously by those who are affected by it. It’s a medical condition that closes the walls of the throat while the person is sleeping, blocking off the airway in the throat. This blockage can result in the individual not breathing for a short period of time which can last from 10 seconds to a minute. Yes, you read this correctly, a whole minute. This pause in breathing often leads to snorting and gasping, often waking the person up only for them to drift back to sleep instantly.
By the time the person wakes up, they won’t have a clue about what they went through in their sleep. This pattern will be repeated hundreds of times each night while the person will have no idea they woke up consistently throughout the night. This rough pattern can mentally abuse the brain and cause sleep fragmentation. That’s not all though. Obstructive sleep apnea can make a person feel constantly worn out and unrefreshed after waking up in the morning. They’ll find themselves being more sleepy during the day which will give them poor concentration, causing underwhelming work performance and problems in personal relationships.
The sudden breaks in breathing during sleep cause the oxygen levels in the body to drop down, making the organs survive on whatever they have. This weakens them and can have lasting damage to the physical health of an individual with sleep apnea. The most common kind of sleeping disorder is sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea to be more precise in medical terms. This disorder is found in those who snore often or face other problems in their sleep, like the tissues on the back of their throat collapsing and blocking the airway, etc. This disorder is known to damage the brain. When the brain can’t signal the muscles to breathe consistently, sleep apnea is to blame. If this disorder is left untreated, it won’t stay a laughing stock much longer. A disorder as bad as sleep apnea can contribute to serious health issues like diabetes, strokes, heart diseases caused by high blood pressure, and depression.
How To Find Out You’re A Casualty:
Many medical professionals have deduced over the decades that obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the soft and fleshy tissues that can be found at the back of the throat. These tissues, commonly known as the “soft palate”, are muscles that are required to keep the airway open. They can only relax when you fall asleep and don’t need to have the airway completely open as you won’t be breathing that much. For people going through sleeping disorders like obstructive sleep apnea, these muscles relax so much to the extent that the tissues found in the area collapse, completely blocking the airway.
When your airway gets completely blocked, your breathing slows down to the point where the oxygen levels in your blood are non-existent. When going through this process, the body takes a natural step and wakes you up, often with some add-ons like the sound of snorting or choking. This is to wake your soft palate back up and you’ll immediately fall asleep, often resulting in you not remembering what your body went through after you’re awake. Since this disorder is known to happen multiple times in one night, you’ll notice you are a casualty of this condition when you’re constantly sleepy no matter what time it is. You’ll be less concentrated at work and will have lower performance in every aspect of life.
Always remember, “If the brain isn’t relaxed, neither is the body.” If you’re going through a similar destructive schedule in life, consult a doctor or your bed partner and ask them whether they’ve noticed weird behavior coming from you in your sleep. You’ll find your answers and can get treated right away so it doesn’t get worse.
Getting Treated For Sleep Apnea:
While amateur consultants will advise you to make changes in your lifestyle, a professional won’t. Lifestyle changes might be the solution to many other disorders, but for sleeping disorders, the most you can do is exercise constantly and work on losing weight. This is why professionals recommend more advanced therapies, such as:
Nighttime Oral Devices:
Nighttime oral devices do sound scary but not when you use their more common name; mouthpieces. Devices that are designed for the sole purpose of keeping your throat open wide while you’re asleep. While some devices like a MAD (mandibular advance device )might move your jaw forward allowing more oxygen to be taken in, other devices like a TRD (tongue retaining device) will just keep your tongue in different positions so your soft palate doesn’t relax to the point you stop breathing.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP):
A more commonly recommended therapy for severe or moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea is a CPAP device. This device is built like a mask, which sends continuous air pressure to your airway so your breathing isn’t disturbed during the night and your oxygen levels are stable.
Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP):
Another variant of the highly recommended therapy for obstructive sleep apnea, the CPAP device, is the BiPAP. This device was made when people were found to have trouble breathing in the air provided by the CPAP device as its pressure is too high. It’s an automatic device that can sense when the air pressure needs to be reduced, so it matches the breathing pattern.
Since these therapies consume time, people looking for an easy way out of sleep apnea can also opt for many different types of throat surgeries. For those with a weaker pain tolerance level, these devices are more suitable.
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