Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder where an individual has one or many repeating pauses in breathing while he or she is asleep. Breathing can become very shallow, limiting the amount of oxygen that travels in and out of the lungs. The condition gets its name from the Greek word ‘apnea’ which literally means ‘without breath.’

A normal person has muscles in the upper part their lungs that help keep the throat open in order to allow air to pass through. Although even a normal person’s muscles go dormant during sleep and relax, the upper throat still remains open enough to allow an adequate amount of air to pass through the lungs.

Very frequently sleep apnea goes undiagnosed. Most people who suffer from the condition do not know that they do so. It is not a condition that doctors can look for during physical exams and regular check ups. The condition also significantly affects significant others because often times the individual that has the condition doesn’t sleep peacefully, often times snoring and making loud choking noises throughout the night. If the symptoms of sleep apnea aren’t brought to the attention of the individual suffering from it, it will most likely go unnoticed and untreated for the duration of their life.

Each pause in breathing can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Often sleep apnea becomes a dangerous condition because the amount of oxygen needed is not received. During a single hour of sleep, the pauses in breathing can occur anywhere between 1 and 30 times. When the pause subsides and the individual begins breathing again, they often choke or snort very loudly. If normal breathing doesn’t start relatively quickly the condition can become very dangerous.

Those who have sleep apnea experience they symptoms at least 3 nights per week. Sleep apnea is an ongoing (chronic) condition that can significantly affect the lives of those who inherit the problem. Sufferers of sleep apnea are often very tired during the day because of lack of sleep during nights before. The insufficient amount of a great deep sleep leads to daytime tiredness, restlessness and overall loss of energy.