One sign of a serious condition could be that loud snoring.

You may have noticed something about sleep apnea and it’s harmful effects in the news lately. It seems that famous athletes, and news people have it , as well as ordinary, everyday people.

However, most people don’t know one very scary fact. Most people who suffer with sleep apnea, as high as 80%, go undiagnosed.

Wow…is probably what you are saying to yourself about now. But the stark truth is that many who aren’t aware of their sleep apnea are going to their doctor because of other problems.

Things like high blood pressure, weight gain, tiredness and more. They wonder why these problems cannot seem to be managed or regulated.

Sleep Apnea, a disorder that currently affects about 12,000,000 Americans, just might be the underlying cause.

Just what is sleep apnea?

It is characterized by breath pauses during sleep, that could be as much as 20-30 seconds apart. These episodes can happen five, to as many as 30 times an hour.

Sleep disturbances such as snorting, snoring and even snorting are typical with those with sleep apnea.

Even though it can be diagnosed in women and children, it is most common in men, and the older population.

Those with sleep apnea are normally not aware of their sleeping irregularities, because of the nature of the condition.

As mentioned above, 80 to even 90% of people with the condition are undiagnosed, and it is their bed partners who notice it.

What are the types of sleep apnea?

There are two most commonly known types…obstructive sleep apnea, also known as OSA, and central sleep apnea.

The most common, OSA, involves a blocked airway.

Facial and bone structure deformities, as well as over-relaxed throat muscles, and tongue obesity can cause OSA blockage.

The person begins to gasp and snort, as breathing stops, because the airway is blocked.

Carbon dioxide levels increase, while oxygen levels decrease during the sleep apnea process.

This causes the person to wake up briefly because the brain has been stimulated to normalize the breathing process.

The airway is then opened by adjusting the throat and tongue muscles.

Loud snoring then usually precedes the restoration of normal breathing, even though the sleep apnea sufferer may be unaware of waking or gasping for air.

The second most common type, which is caused by the brain’s delayed signals to the breathing muscles, is called central sleep apnea.

It is a central nervous system disorder, that causes breathing to stop and oxygen levels to drop.

This disorder can result from injury, or diseases that involves the brainstem, such as strokes and brain tumors.

Those with central sleep apnea may experience shortness of breath, but not typically snore.

The harmful effects of these two types of sleep apnea are the same, even though the causes are distinctly different…poor sleep quality, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and even depression.

When oxygen levels become dangerously low, high blood pressure and heart irregularities can also manifest.

However, sleep apnea can also be very disturbing to your bed partner, as the snoring can also deprive them of sleep.

So, since it is very hard for an individual to know whether or not he has sleep apnea, but does exhibit some of the symptoms, what is the best course of action?

They can opt to document their sleeping (or lack thereof) patterns, by having their partner journal the symptoms.

If they sleep alone, they can videotape their sleeping and record the episodes. Both of these methods could help determine whether seeing a doctor or sleep specialist is warranted.

At a sleep center, in the presence of a sleep doctor, is the absolute best way to properly diagnose sleep apnea. Many prefer in home tests which are available.

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