Understanding Sleep Apnea: Symptoms, Causes and Risk

By Womens Issues

Sleeping is very important for your health and mood, so sleep disorder is a serious condition you must pay extra attention to. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that makes the sufferer stops breathing during the night sleep, often resulting in short of breath and sudden wake up. While this seems to just sound like simple disturbances, sleep apnea can disrupt your health and even increase your risks in getting various diseases and conditions.

Understanding Sleep Apnea Symptoms, Causes and Risk

Understanding Sleep Apnea Symptoms, Causes and Risk

Causes and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea happens because of obstruction or collapse in the upper part of the airway, and the causes can be various. The most common one is obesity (which causes the airway to get constricted) and age (which causes the airway muscle to loosens), while relaxed muscle condition during REM period can also triggering the condition. The condition gets triggered more easily when someone is drunk from excessive alcohol consumption. Many pregnant women also often experience sleep apnea.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring that happens for a long time, repeated waking up, choking or gasping during sleep, forgetfulness and hard to concentrate, chronic headache in the morning, mood swing, dry mouth and throat after waking up, and constant sleepiness during the day. As you can see, these symptoms are debilitating and can really affect your daily activities.

Health Risks of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is not only annoying, but also can be dangerous. Also, this condition can increase risk of getting other conditions, such as various cardiovascular conditions, high blood pressure, acid reflux, erectile dysfunction, stroke, diabetes, depression, and even sudden death. Also, you must count other indirect effects of sleep apnea that affect your daily activities, which can be equally destructive and dangerous for your health.

For example, if you cannot sleep during the nighttime, you can feel really sluggish, tired and sleepy during the day, and it can be dangerous if your job deals with risky activities or procedures. Lower concentration and memorizing ability also affects your achievements and skills in handling your daily work or study activities. You can also lose concentration when driving, operating heavy machinery or other risky activities, which can be dangerous. Also, bad sleeping pattern can lead to lower immune system and even shorter life expectancy.

What Can You Do?

When you realize that you experience these symptoms, make sure you visit the doctor. When the doctor suspects you of having sleep apnea, your condition is usually tested using polysomnogram, which requires you to stay for a night in sleep laboratory. From there, you can get proper treatment if you are actually diagnosed with sleep apnea.

During the treatment and therapy, you can also do several things that can lessen the symptoms. For example, you can try sleeping sideways, cutting off alcohol consumption, and piling your pillow a little higher. Losing some weight also helps you lessening the symptoms, since it helps lessening pressure to your airway. With quick diagnosis, proper treatment and some extra efforts, you can beat sleep apnea and enjoy better sleep quality.


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