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Announcement: Sleep Apnea

September 1st, 2009

Sleep Apnea or Sleep Apnoea (depending on where you live) is a common disorder nearly as common as adult diabetes with the most common and usually most severe sleep apnea condition being known as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA for short.

It is thought that one in twenty-five middle-aged men and one in every fifty middle-aged women may have Sleep Apnea and of these less than half are likely to have been diagnosed. Sleep apnea diagnosis usually depends on other persons observations of the sufferer and the  recognition of the sleep apnea symptoms, particularly sleep apnea snoring and cessations in breathing while asleep, as most sufferers may not even be aware that they have the condition.

With the American Sleep Foundation reporting that sleep deprivation, not cancer or coronary illness, now constitutes the number one killer in the Western World, Sleep Apnea is fast becoming a major issue for western society.

There are three types of Sleep Apnea, these being.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea where the airway collapses or becomes blocked and restricts breathing, and is the most common form of Sleep Apnea .
  • Central Sleep Apnea is the less common form of Sleep Apnea and is where the brain fails to tell the body to breath and
  • Mixed Apnea which is a combination of both Central and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Untreated Sleep Apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity and diabetes. The broken sleep pattern that comes with Sleep Apnea also leads to increased tiredness and decreased awareness in waking hours, with some sufferers experiencing periods of momentary sleep events at times throughout the day.

The sleep apnea treatment method adopted will depend on the severity of the condition and the physical condition of the patient and in most cases involves the ongoing use of a CPAP or Continuous Positive Air Pressure machine,  but can also include the use of physical devices such as Mandibular Advancement Devices (or MAD’s) or in some cases sleep apnea surgery.

Sleep Apnea is normally something that develops over a period of time and as such is usually not noticed as a problem, with most people putting the symptoms down to just being part of “growing older”; this is not necessarily the case.

There are no blood or other post event tests for determining Sleep Apnea , and as such Sleep Apnea is normally diagnosed as a result of comments or complaints from sleeping partners or family who have noticed the gaps in breathing or the excessive snoring.

Sleep Apnea can be treated or managed once diagnosed. The risks to your health associated with failing to act on sleep apnea are significant and Sleep Apnea should not be taken lightly. If you have any of the symptoms or are told by your partner that you do, then you may be suffering from Sleep Apnea, take action now, get yourself assessed, it could save a life, yours.


2 Responses

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