Sleep apnea negatively affects nearly 20 million Americans. People with sleep apnea may not even know they suffer from the disorder, as most sufferers will continue to sleep, albeit with diminished quality due to disrupted sleep rhythms. Most of those who suffer from sleep apnea are alerted to the disorder by a bed partner or by family members.
Sleep apnea occurs when one’s breathing is repeatedly stopped during sleep or the sufferer has unusually low breathing. Pauses in breath can last from a few second to minutes; someone suffering from sleep apnea will typically begin breathing again with a loud snort. These pauses can happen over 100 times a night. Signs of sleep apnea are loud and chronic snoring, gasping during sleep, waking up with a dry mouth, shortness of breath when waking up and frequent daytime sleepiness, no matter how long one sleeps. Loud snoring does not entail that one suffers from sleep apnea; conversely, because one does not snore doesn’t preclude the possibility that one suffers from sleep apnea. However, if one is a chronic snorer—or frequently wakes up tired after long nights of sleep—sleep apnea may be present.
There are three types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea (CSA), obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and mixed apnea. Central sleep apnea is the rarest form of sleep apnea. CSA occurs when the brain’s respiratory control centers are imbalanced during sleep. The neurological feedback mechanism that controls and monitors carbon monoxide levels in the blood fluctuates, causing pauses in breath which are broken by fast breathing—the body’s effort to release waste gases and make up for lost oxygen. Far more common than central sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue around the back of one’s throat obstructs their breathing. During sleep, muscles relax. In regards to sleep apnea, this relaxation of muscles causes the collapsible walls of tissue around one’s throat to collapse, obstructing the airway. People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea due to the likelihood of extra fat around the neck. In fact, weight loss in overweight individuals is one of the single most effective ways to combat obstructive sleep apnea. Mixed sleep apnea, as the name implies, is a combination of both CSA and OSA.
The best way to detect for sleep apnea is having a physician administer a polysomnogram or sleep test.
Naturopathic Sleep Specialist comment:
From a naturopathic perspective we would always look into the under lying causes or reasons why a person may have this condition and what lifestyle and nutritional factors or support we could offer them. For more information Email to firstname.lastname@example.org