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Sleep Apnea Machine Helps You Sleep Well

Nov 2, 2007
Sleep apnea (or apnoea) is a surprisingly common sleep disorder characterized by a person's breathing periodically ceasing temporarily during sleep. It can happen dozens or hundreds of times during a night, when weak muscles supporting the back of the throat allow the airway to become blocked.

More rarely what happens is the breathing signal is not sent from the brain to the diaphragm.

It is a treatable condition, with several options open to patients. The simplest and most common treatment is the use of a sleep apnea machine known as a CPAP sleep apnea machine. (CPAP is an abbreviation for Constant Positive Airway Pressure.)

Although not directly life-threatening, sleep apnea is a serious condition which has the potential to significantly affect a sufferer's quality of life.

In normal human sleeping patterns, a person progresses through five stages of sleep, eventually going into "deep sleep." Deep sleep is when dreaming and REM (rapid eye movement) occur and when most restorative functions happen. And you return to almost wakefulness approximately every ninety minutes. Thus, people who wake two or three times in a night are probably actually getting good quality sleep.

In cases of sleep apnea, the sufferer effectively falls unconscious in their sleep, immediately before the brain rouses the body in response to the blocked airway. One with this condition without realizing it could be going through a cycle of passing out and waking every few minutes all night long. This affects the quality of sleep in two ways.

First, oxygen deprivation is harmful to the brain at any time and makes it impossible for sleep to be restful.

Second, because the sufferer may be going through a cycle of waking and going back to sleep every few minutes, they have little opportunity for the most restful, deep sleep.

Symptoms can include snoring, a tendency to fall asleep during the day during any idle period, feeling very tired upon waking, possibly in conjunction with a morning headache, and secondary effects from the reduced quality of sleep, such as depression and anxiety, along with the associated symptoms of those conditions.

Diagnosis for sleep apnea used to be complicated, requiring a specialist's attention, and possibly a night or two in a sleep laboratory. Fortunately, as awareness of this somewhat common condition becomes more widespread, so too have diagnosis and treatment options.

Upon consultation with a physician, you can get a sleep apnea machine that monitors your body's vital signs during sleep by use of simple apparatus worn on the arm, allowing you to sleep in your own bed.

Because you are probably more comfortable in familiar surroundings, and the monitoring is done in the same environment you normally sleep in, the results obtained from such analysis can be more valuable to your sleep specialist or doctor.

If sleep apnea is diagnosed, there are a number of treatment options available. The most basic, if applicable, is to lose weight, as obesity is a known cause of this condition. Unfortunately, this may only lower the severity of the problem in many patients, and is not the only cause.

In any acute case, further intervention is required. One option is surgery, but again, this will not work for everyone and is an expensive and undesirable option for many people.

This leaves the most common treatment, which is the use of a sleep apnea machine known as a CPAP. A CPAP sleep apnea machine (Constant Positive Airway Pressure) is a device which has a tube worn in the mouth during sleep which provides a slight positive pressure but otherwise, allows the wearer to breathe normally.

This has the effect of keeping the airway open at all times during sleep, making for more restful, better quality sleep, and better quality of life.

There are various models of CPAP machines available. Some offer more advanced features, such as a reduction of pressure while exhaling, so you are not breathing against the flow of air so much.

Also, offered are more advanced monitoring of use, options for upgradeable firmware to keep the device current with the latest technology, and the ability to link the sleep apnea machine to your PC.

Obviously, less expensive, more basic models are available, and can be completely autonomous, requiring little further configuration by the user.
About the Author
The most common treatment for this condition is the use of a sleep apnea machine or CPAP machine. Visit Kelly's Medical Equipment & Supply at http://www.kellysmedical.com/ for more information and to see the great prices available on our wide variety of sleep apnea machines.
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