Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder that happens when any person’s breathing and respiratory function is interrupted during sleep. People who are not aware of this illness and live with untreated sleep apnea, stop breathing for several times during their sleep, which sometimes runs to hundreds of times.
When this happens the brain and the rest of the sleep apnea patient’s body do not receive adequate oxygen during their sleep.
Sleep apnea can be classified into two types:
OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea): This is caused by blockage in the airway of the sleep apnea patient, and is more common of the two types. This symptom happens when the soft tissue at the back of the patient’s throat collapses during the sleep.
Central Sleep Apnea: This is a more serious kind of sleep apnea, where the airway is not blocked like in OSA, but the patient’s brain fails to signal the respiratory muscles to breath. This occurs because of instability in the respiratory control center of the patient suffering from this disease.
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, any person of any age, even children. But people who are more at a risk of this disease are:
Left untreated, this disease can cause a number of serious health problems, which include, stoke, high blood pressure, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, depression, fatigue, diabetes, headaches and even worsening of ADHD symptoms. In addition to this untreated sleep apnea can also bring in poor performance in day to day activities, like in school and office, car accidents, academic failure and underachievement, especially among children and adolescents.
If you have symptoms of this disease, the doctor may ask you to undergo a sleep apnea test, which is also known as polysomnogram. A polysomnogram is a study on sleeping activities. It is a multiple component test that transmits electronically records of sleeping patterns and correlate them with physical activities while you are asleep. These electronic records and data are then analyzed by ‘sleep specialists’ to find out whether you really have sleep apnea or if you are suffering from any other disorder.