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Sleep Apnea - The Silent Sleep Disorder

Aug 14, 2008
One of the most common sleep disorders in the world is sleep apnea, affecting millions of people each year. Sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing while they are asleep, for at least 10 seconds according to many medical journals. This can happen multiple times during the night, sometimes resulting in the person awakening and sometimes with the person remaining asleep but acting restless during the night.

Sleep apnea can result in chronic fatigue for the person affected by the condition. Because the person's inability to breathe is disrupting their sleep at night, whether they awaken or not, the person is not getting the quality sleep that will allow them to awake refreshed in the morning. Ideally each of us needs 3 hours of uniterrupted sleep for our bodys to properly recharge and repair itself during the night. Constant interruption of this resting and healing phase while we're asleep can cause the sufferer constant hardship through extreme fatigue. The persons health will also start to suffer after several months of such problems. After consecutive nights of this occurring, the person will become fatigued, irritable, and drowsy during the day.

Sleep apnea can be a difficult condition to diagnose because the person may be unaware that they stop breathing in their sleep- simply because they're asleep and have no awareness that anything has actually happened to them at all. All that they know is that they may wake up in the middle of the night for no reason and even when they do sleep through the night, they are still tired when they awake. It may take months or years to determine the actual cause of the person's restlessness at night and during that time the person will continue to experience episodes of sleep apnea and may even become conditioned to its effects.

Treating sleep apnea can also be difficult because of the nature of the condition. Different treatments may be used but their effectiveness can be difficult to judge without a third party observing the sleeping behavior of the affected person. The condition is usually diagnosed by a loved one observing the interrupted sleep pattern of the person. The loved one also the person that observes the effects of the treatment and tells the doctor whether or not it is working.

The treatments used for sleep apnea cover a wide variety of options. Choosing the option that is best for a person's condition will depend on the type of sleep apnea affecting them and how severe the condition is. Some people are helped by changing the position that they sleep in at night while others will need some sort of medical device to help them keep their airways open while they sleep. If the person's condition is severe, then there are medical and surgical options that can be used to give the patient some relief from their condition. Sleep apnea is a condition that can be devastating to the people that it affects, but there are ways to reduce the effects that sleep apnea has on a person's life.
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