Sleep Apnea Essay

511 words - 3 pages

SLEEP APNOEA
Sleep Apnoea is the obstruction of airflow in and out of the lungs which mainly occurs during sleep. When a person is asleep, the muscles of the nose, mouth and throat usually relax which causes the airways to close up therefore preventing air from getting in or out freely. The cessation of breathing can be clinically significant if it lasts for up to 10 seconds. It occurs mainly due to lack of muscle tone in the upper airway. When the breathing stops, the brain in turn automatically wakes you up. This is accompanied by the act of snoring with frequent uniform periods whereby one wakes up in order to breathe again. This interrupted sleeping makes the affected person to feel sleepy during daytime. This condition ...view middle of the document...

There are three types of sleep apnoea which have been described. Firstly, obstructive sleep apnoea is usually caused by the muscles of the throat relaxing too much thereby closing up when one is asleep. Secondly, central sleep apnoea occurs when the brain fails to give signals of breathing during sleeping. The last category is the combination of obstructive and central apnoea but its occurrence is very rare.
The main symptoms are usually snoring and holding of breathe when one is asleep. The feeling of sleepiness is mainly accompanied during daytime. The affected person falls asleep when not in active states for example while studying and in some severe cases it may become dangerous when one is driving. Some other associated symptoms that usually accompany lack of proper sleep include restlessness, being short tempered, morning headaches anxiety and even depression.
The initial diagnosis usually involves the assessing of sleepiness. This is determined by a scale referred to as the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. When diagnosis shows that one has sleep apnoea, he or she is referred to a specialist for further consultations. The sleeping patterns are monitored when one is asleep as then the amount of oxygen in the blood is measured. The sleep period is video recorded while one is at the comfort of his or her home in order to obtain genuine results. The heart rate is also measured and taken into consideration.
There are several treatment modes of sleep apnoea. The main treatment mode is the use of a mask which is worn in order to keep the back of the throat open in order to force air through the nose. A mouth guard is also used to hold the jaw forward during sleep. When these therapies fail, surgery is considered to rectify the problem.

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