Here’s Everything You Need to Know about Sleep Apnea

The word apnea is defined as no breathing. The upper airway is always held open by the muscles present on the airway walls. During the deep sleep, the muscles reduce their tone and the upper airway becomes narrower. A little narrowing means you will snore and more narrowing indicates that it will lead to hypopnea and complete blockage means apnea. If the blockage is prolonged then the oxygen in the blood will fall. This stops when the person’s sleep is disturbed from light stage of sleep or by waking up completely. The risk factors include obesity, structural abnormalities in the upper airway, genetics, hormone disorders, smoking and alcohol abuse. Here is everything you need to know about symptoms, diagnosis, prevention and sleep apnea treatment.

Symptoms

This can be categorized into night time and day time. The former entails heavy snoring, apneas witnessed by your bed partner, choking, sweating, frequent urination, erectile dysfunction, unrefreshing sleep, and acid reflux. Daytime symptoms entail oversleeping in the daytime, memory loss, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, irritability, and depression.

Diagnosis

You can do this by following an acronym called STOPBANG. It refers to:

  1. S – Snoring
  2. T- Tiredness
  3. O- Observed apneas
  4. P- Blood pressure
  5. B- BMI (Body Mass, Age, Neck Circumference >16 inches)
  6. G- Gender-

Prevention

The precautionary measures may entail weight reduction, sleep hygiene, regular exercise, going to bed every night at the same time, getting up from the bed at the same time every day, keeping the bedroom quiet and dark, not reading or watching TV in bed, not exercising before sleep, not having caffeine in the morning and not staring at the mobile screen, and prompt recognition and treatment of the causes of sleep apnea that can help in fixing apnea in both kids and adults. And the most obvious ones would be avoidance of smoking and/or alcohol consumption among adults that can reduce the odds of being impacted by this very condition.

Treatment

The strategy entails Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or Auto CPAP delivered by the means of a face mask or nasal mask apart from the other precautionary measures. If you find any kind of abnormal growth like tonsils or adenoids blocking the airway, then you may have to go for a surgery to relieve the blockage. If the patient doesn’t want to pay heed to these precautions then they can go for a device known as Mandibular advancement device that can be used for advancing the lower jaw while you are sleeping.

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