Sleep Apnea: What Is It?
Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder in which breathing stops temporarily during sleep. Pauses in breathing may last for over ten seconds and recur over five times per hour. Sleep apnea is usually associated with snoring and increased airway resistance. As the oxygen levels decrease, the brain senses the problem, and ultimately briefly awakens the individual to resume breathing. This is often accompanied by a loud gasping noise.
Sleep apnea is usually a chronic disorder which lasts for many years. When breathing appears to stop or become shallow, the sleeper comes out of a deep sleep and moves to a light sleep. This results in very poor quality sleep, resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness.
A General Summary of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is usually undiagnosed in most patients. It can not be detected during a routine doctor appointment, and there’s no blood test to diagnose it. In fact most sufferers don’t even know they have it because it occurs during sleep. Often, it is the bed partner who is aware that there is a problem during sleep.