Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can be difficult to diagnose. At the same time, if left undetected, it can have serious adverse health consequences. Treatment can take different forms, depending on a number of factors. Lifestyle changes, surgery and breathing devices like Cpap machines and nasal pillows can help prevent sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. The pauses happen when airways are blocked during sleep due to obstructions in the nasal airways. Sleep apnea is diagnosed when more than five episodes of obstructed breathing occur within an hour. It is estimated that 18 million people in the U.S. suffer from sleep apnea.
Typically, sleep apnea sufferers may experience up to sixty apnea episodes every hour. Sleep apnea can be difficult to diagnose, since the sleeper is unaware of the situation. At the same time, untreated sleep apnea can lead to significant health risks. Treatments can vary from the use of breathing devices like nasal pillows and Cpap or bipap machines to lifestyle changes like weight loss and giving up smoking.
What are the health risks associated with sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea leads to disturbed sleep, which causes sufferers to be tired, sleepy or irritable during the day. In children, sleep apneas can lead to hyperactivity and trouble in concentrating on lessons at school.
More serious health consequences of sleep apneas are higher risks of diseases like heart attack, stroke, diabetes, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and obesity. Sleep apnea also increases the risks of workplace and traffic accidents, when motor vehicles and machinery are operated by people suffering from lack of sleep or disturbed sleep.
The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research estimates that about 38,000 deaths each year can be connected to sleep apnea-related cardiovascular problems.
How can sleep apnea be treated?
Sleep apnea solutions can range from lifestyle changes to surgery. Weight loss, giving up alcohol and smoking and changing sleeping habits by sleeping on the side rather than the back can all make a positive difference.
Breathing devices like nasal pillows and cpap machines can help some sufferers, but it is important that they are used correctly. Most people need to make an effort to get used to being hooked up to sleep apnea machines at night.
CPAP therapy products and related products like nasal pillows can help sleep apnea sufferers sleep undisturbed through the night, improving their overall health and wellness.