As you pay attention closely to this page, you will learn more about the most serious sleep disorder – Sleep apnea which in the long term can cause other serious diseases like heart disease and Alzheimer.
My 80-year old mom normally sleeps 5-6 hours at night and sleeps during the day for a couple of hours, which is likely close to the sleep requirement. Senior adults may be able to sleep for a short period because the body produces lower serotonin, which helps sleepiness. This may be not a problem when having a quality sleep.
The fact is my mom is starting forgetting things and her memory is diminishing. The doctor diagnosed her having a beginning stage of Alzheimer. The doctor recommended her to have a sleep test for examining if she has Obstruction Sleep Apnea (OSA).
Sleep Apnea – Ignorance becomes brain damage
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where an individual’s breathing is briefly interrupted during sleeping. The most common form of sleep apnea is Obstruction Sleep Apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea only occurs while we are sleeping. Individuals may not even realize what’s happening. The airway is blocked causing pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. This follows loud snoring. There may be a choking or snorting sound as breathing resumes. (R)
The condition that the muscles in the back of an individual’s throat relax, the airway narrows or closes when breathing in. An individual can’t get enough air, which can lower the oxygen level in blood. The brain rouses the individual from sleep so that can reopen the airway. The pattern of snort, choke of gasp can repeat itself five to 30 minutes or more each hour, all night, impairing the ability to reach deep sleep.
The second form of sleep apnea is Central Sleep Apnea, which occurs when an individual’s brain respiratory control center does not react quickly enough to maintain an even respiratory rate. The sleeper stops breathing and then starts again. There is no breath during the pause in breathing.
In a normal sleeping, a sudden drop in oxygen or excess of carbon dioxide stimulates the brain’s respiratory centers to breathe. The malfunction of the brain’s respiratory controls causes the individual to miss one or more cycles of breathing. The lower level of blood oxygen goes long will cause brain damage and minor death incidence.
The last form of sleep apnea is Mixed Apnea, which occurs when an individual has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Early Signs of Sleep Apnea – Symptoms Beyond Snoring
Commonly a sleep apnea follows by loud snoring and the sleeper may not realize, as sleep apnea only occurs when you are sleeping. A sleeper may discover when a roommate complains about the snoring. I do not know whether I have snoring if my bed partner does not tell me. Open and sincere conversation with your partners can help you find out whether you have the symptoms sooner.
Major warning signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:
- Loud and repetitive snoring during sleep. This is one of the most obvious signs of potential OSA.
- Regular pauses in breath during sleep caused by airway obstruction.
- Snorting, choking or gasping during sleep often follow after breathing obstruction, as the brain’s respiratory system arouses breathing through the blockage.
- Waking up at night feeling short of breath and causing restless sleep.
- Uncommon sweating during sleep due to breathing difficulties.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue (hypersomnia) to compensate for the low-quality night sleep.
- Awakening with chest pains and nasal congestion.
Other warning signs
- Morning headaches due to the loss of oxygen in the bloodstream that flows to the brain.
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat.
- Not feeling energetic due to restless sleep.
- Difficulty concentrating and poor judgment.
- Irritability or depression, often feeling short-tempered.
- High blood pressure.
- Decreasing in sexual desire.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during 1988 – 1994 and 2007 – 2010, revealed the estimates that 30 percent of people in the United States have sleep apnea. In addition, it suggests that sleep apnea is more common in men than in women. Adults from middle-aged and older have higher risks of central sleep apneas than younger-aged. The data was estimated to increase in the next decade.
Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea and not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. When you experienced early signs of sleep apnea or warning signs, it is better to consult your doctor about any sleep problems. Sleep apnea symptoms obstruct or pause breathing cycle and occur several times during sleep, causing lower blood oxygen. Chronic symptoms increase the risk of brain damage and other complications, such as heart problems, diabetes, and liver problems.
Sleep Apnea – A Factor of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep apneas interrupt sleeping by waking up the sleepers throughout the night due to choking breathing many times and pulling them out of non-REM and REM sleep stages. Consequently, the sleepers have more difficulties having deep sleep. Sleep apnea is a factor of sleep deprivation and results in daytime sleepiness, memory problems, morning headaches, depression, non-productiveness, poor concentration and decision, and accident-prone. Sleep apnea can take a serious problem with your physical and emotional health.
Risks of Sleep Apnea – Sleep Apnea Awareness
Excessive weight. Individuals with overweight are more likely to have excess fatty issues in throat and muscle, which will narrow the respiratory airway, resulting in much more breathing difficulties during sleep than normal-weight individuals.
Narrow respiratory system. By genetics, individuals have narrow respiratory muscles. When the muscle relaxes, it easily blocks the airway.
Infection in nasal tissue or nasal congestion. Swelling of nasal passages may block the airway causing breathing difficulty and leading to a higher risk of breathing obstructions.
Gender. The survey revealed that sleep apnea happened to men more than women. Women with menopause have more sleep apnea than younger women due to changes in the hormone leading to neck muscle relaxes.
Genetics. The study reported a higher risk of sleep apneas in the family with a history of Sleep Apnea.
Aging. The survey revealed that sleep apneas are found more in individuals from 40-year age and up.
Obesity, high blood pressure, and asthma. Individuals with obesity, high blood pressure, and asthma have a higher risk of sleep apnea is related to poor muscle tone and/or fatty tissues in throats causing to breathing obstructions.
Lifestyle and behaviors. Some lifestyle and behavior cause a higher risk of sleep apnea, such as smoking, alcohol consumption before bed, and some medications, which increase muscle relaxation.
The Bottom Line
The World Sleep Society suggests awareness of improving healthy sleep for a better quality of life. It is true and there is no doubt all nations focus on the quality of life. In addition, it is common to understand that national health budget will increase in attribute to increases in health and mental problems. The cycle will turn to citizen tax increases.
When individuals have a doubt of any signs of Sleep Apnea, the sooner the treatments they take, the lower risks of serious health and mental problems. Individuals can learn natural treatments for sleep apneas and practice self home remedies that can be the beginning of the treatments. However, individuals with sleep apnea should consult doctors or sleep specialists if they need medical treatments
Sleep apnea is one type of sleep disorders, according to the ICSD-3 International Classification of Sleep Disorder, and has the most effects on physical and mental health. Everybody has a sleep disorder at some stages in life. Inadequate sleep or poor quality sleeps affect brain function. If you cannot sleep even you are tired, that is insomnia. You can learn more through the article about sleep disorders, insomnias, and 9 best natural foods for sleep in this website.
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All the best for your good sleep,