Sleep is natural to man as well as to animals. The amount of time varies between species but there isn’t anything alive that can do without sleep, which helps heal the body and replenishes its energy. Unfortunately, there is a condition where sleep is interrupted several even hundreds of times each night. Millions of people live with the danger of sleep apnea.
Apnea is a Greek word that means “to breathe.” Sleep apnea is when the airway is obstructed or blocked and breathing is stopped. When this happens the brain automatically goes into a defensive mode and forces the individual to wake up and breathe. If you know of someone who has this condition the sound of their snore isn’t constant it is more of a grunt which means they are gasping for air. Since the blockage is always there this cycle of falling asleep and waking goes on all night.
Besides just the loss of sleep and rest each night there is something more sinister going on. There are 5 stages of sleep with the most important stage being REM, Rapid Eye Movement; it is at this stage that there is the deepest and the most refreshing sleep. Those with this condition never reach this stage of deep sleep.
Another effect and probably the most dangerous is the lack of oxygen taken in every night. This can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. If you are already a heart disease patient sleep apnea could make your condition worse.
There are things that can be done to alleviate this illness.
1. Lose weight. Many sleep apnea sufferers are overweight.
2. Be fitted for a cpap machine, which pushes air through a tube into your throat all night keeping the blockage opened.
3. There are also dental devices that can be used to make sure that the blockage remains open.
4. If all else fails there is also surgery that can unblock the airway in the throat.
This is a serious problem that should be addressed. Don’t ignore the danger of sleep apnea.