It may not seem like it, but sleep apnea is a serious disorder
Sleep apnea affects approximately 4% of children and up to 22 million adults in the United States. It causes punishing fatigue and often goes undiagnosed for a long period of time.
Why is sleep apnea such a serious condition? Dozens of times in the course of a night, a person stops breathing. It ranges from 10-30 seconds and sometimes up to a full minute. In sleep apnea, oxygen levels fall below normal because there is reduced air in the lungs and blood pressure soars as well.
The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This is when a person takes involuntary pauses in breathing during sleep and air doesn't flow properly.
Typically, treatment for sleep apnea requires a polysomnogram, which is a sleep study that monitors eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate, respiratory effort, airflow, and blood oxygen levels. Electroencephalograms, electromyograms, electrocardiograms, and nasal airflow sensors may be used for detecting the symptoms.
Mild cases of sleep apnea can be controlled at home by losing any extra pounds, limiting the intake of alcohol and/or cigarettes and avoiding sleep on the back.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP is one of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea. Dental devices, nasal puffs and surgery are other options.