People who have trouble sleeping may suffer from breathing abnormalities, also known as sleep apnea. This disorder, which can cause fatigue, slow responsiveness and vision problems, is classified into central, obstructive and mixed or complex sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Syndrome – Causes and Effects
People may exhibit abnormally low breathing or irregular pauses in respiration when they sleep because their body fails to get enough oxygen to the lungs. This is common among people who are overweight or obese, have large tonsils or nose, or an unusually shaped head. Sleep apnea syndrome may come naturally with aging, and also occur in people whose tongue muscles are too relaxed while they sleep. In the obstructive form of the disorder, the airways are blocked by soft tissue that collapses at the back of the throat. Central sleep apnea syndrome, however, results from the failure of neurons to signal the respiratory control center to tell the muscles to breathe. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to stroke, hypertension, heart arrhythmia or failure, diabetes and even depression.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea – Helpful Information
While not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, loud snoring may be a sign of the disorder in at-risk patients. Other common symptoms of sleep apnea are recurrent choking or gasping during sleep at night, tossing and turning, excessive sleepiness during the day, and nocturia, or frequent urination at night. One sign of the disorder is swollen legs, while other indicators include memory and concentration lapses, abrupt personality changes and experiencing a sour taste at night. In children, symptoms of sleep apnea aside from snoring and restlessness are sweating, bed wetting, and stunted growth. Adults suffering from apnea could complain about headaches in the morning as well as in the evening.
Mild Sleep Apnea – Treatment
A lot of people with upper respiratory infection may suffer from mild occasional sleep apnea, which is not as serious as other forms of the condition. Mild sleep apnea, which is diagnosed when a person has a maximum of five apnea attacks per hour, can be alleviated by losing weight. Excessive weight hampers the function of the lungs, resulting in breathing irregularities. People with mild sleep apnea might want to limit their amount of alcohol intake and consumption of sedatives or sleeping pills. They may also try to sleep on their side to facilitate breathing. Apnea patients may be prescribed oral breathing devices or continuous positive airway pressure devices to address the condition.