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Crucial Things You Should Know About Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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Sleep Apnea

Commonly called OSA, Obstructive sleep apnea is a severe ailment that adversely affects breathing when you are asleep. It typically happens when your throat muscles relax, resulting in the airways becoming narrow or entirely blocked. You may also stop breathing altogether for short periods, waking you up and making it hard to get restful sleep at night.

Waking up with elevated heart rate can indicate the disorder. It can also cause headaches and daytime drowsiness, among other unpleasant consequences, making it difficult to lead a healthy life. The following is a brief outline of the ailment to help you understand it better, enabling those who recognise the symptoms in themselves to seek immediate medical intervention.

About sleep apnea and its symptoms

It is a serious condition because it causes pauses in breathing that last from at least ten seconds to minutes and as many as thirty or more times an hour. It happens when your airway becomes blocked or narrowed during sleep. These unforeseen breathing pauses can deprive the brain of oxygen, resulting in various health issues.

OSA symptoms may also include difficulty sleeping, loud snoring, and daytime sleepiness. Headaches, memory problems, depression, and weight gain are common indicators of the disease.

OSA causes

The two most common causes of OSA are physical obstruction and neurological disorders. For example, an enlarged tongue or tonsils can obstruct the pharynx – the tube that connects the nose/mouth area with the windpipe (trachea). This blockage may lead to snoring because airflow is restricted when these structures vibrate during inhalation.

A deviated septum can also obstruct the nasal passage, which generally results in snoring. Sleep apnea has also been linked with obesity and pulmonary ailments such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Sometimes, women can develop the condition during pregnancy.

It can occur in children, too.

Often, OSA may be more commonly found in children than in grownups. But since children’s snoring can be different from adults, it can be difficult to distinguish normal mouth breathing and to snore from sleep apnea.

Children with the ailment may have difficulty breathing while asleep, which can cause them to wake up several times during the night. This can make it harder for them to fall back into a deep sleep, resulting in daytime tiredness and irritability.

So, if your child has difficulty breathing while asleep, ask your doctor whether they have an underlying medical condition that could cause their airway to collapse during sleep.

Seeing a specialist is important.

If you are constantly waking up with an elevated heart rate, more often than not, it could be a sign of sleep apnea. OSA can lead to grave issues like elevated blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke when undiagnosed or left untreated. Research suggests that people who suffer from it are at a higher risk of cardiac arrest than those without the disorder.

It is also associated with Type 2 diabetes and obesity due to hormonal changes during sleep deprivation that can lead to insulin resistance, which causes high blood sugar levels and puts you at risk for Type 2 diabetes. Invariably, seeking treatment from a sleep specialist can help curb the issue at the earliest possible. So, look for a reputable medical practitioner who can treat sleep disorders and pulmonary ailments to help you enjoy a healthier lifestyle.