Every breath counts! Sleep apnea is a common condition that usually goes untreated. Find out all about the symptoms & treatment of sleep apnea, with this article.

Sleep Apnea Syndrome

The works of Charles Dickens have formed a major part of the growing up years of many people. We all would recollect works such as 'Oliver Twist', 'David Copperfield', 'Great Expectations', 'A Tale of Two Cities' and 'The Pickwick Papers'. His literary productions had such a strong influence that many people related to the fictional characters in real life and referred to their examples as if they were in real. One such example is the term ‘Pickwickian Syndrome’, which was coined by William Osler - a 20th century physician. The syndrome is known as an ‘Obstructive Sleep Apnea’ today. Osler had coined this term with Joe 'the fat boy' from 'The Pickwick Papers' in mind. The character of Joe accurately exemplified the clinical condition of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.


Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Sleep apnea is condition wherein people tend to cease breathing during sleep. This can last from a few seconds to a minute, and can be harmful, even fatal if not treated in time. There are three kinds of sleep apnea, namely obstructive, central and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and caused when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses, leading to obstruction in the airway. In people with central sleep apnea, the brain is not able to transmit signals to the muscles to breathe. Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central conditions. In order to identify and treat sleep apnea in time, the symptoms need to be recognized and the right treatment adopted. Listed below are the symptoms of sleep apnea, along with the possible treatment.

Some scientists and researchers believe that there is connection between SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and sleep apnea syndrome. The most susceptible people, who could have sleep apnea, are 40-year-old, overweight males. Some of the major symptoms of sleep apnea are:
  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime sleep attack
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Extremely loud snoring
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Dpression
  • Extreme irritability
  • Improper sleep, leading to psychological issues
  • Longtime sufferers may also experience heart irregularities, high blood pressure, impotence and weight gain
In order to treat sleep apnea, it is important to first get diagnosed by your doctor, through various tests or observations in ‘sleep labs’. Accordingly a treatment is prescribed. Some of the most common treatments for the problem are:
  • Surgery: Treating sleep apnea usually involves surgery. During surgery, it is important to monitor anesthesia, as it supplements the apnea condition and may lead to a critical condition.
  • CPAP: Sometimes, doctors prescribe a device called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). The device sends pressured air through the nostril, to keep airways open. This treatment has been successful in reducing and even eliminating apnea conditions.
  • As per some research findings, men over 40 years, men and women over 50 years, obese people, heart patients, people who have had heart strokes and African Americans are most vulnerable to sleep apnea.

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