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Understanding Sleep Apnoea and Its Treatments

April 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 129

Understanding Sleep Apnoea.

Whilst you are sleeping your body will relax, a large amount of the muscles will become floppy. Usually this relaxation doesn't matter, in fact it helps you get a great night's sleep. Your throat may narrow when your muscles become relaxed, the muscles which hold open the throat become floppy closing the airway. In the beginning the narrowing of your airways will cause snoring, but it can soon progress, stopping you from breathing completely. Thankfully your body can detect the narrowing of your airway and wake you up briefly before suffocation can occur. You then automatically take a few deep breaths then fall rapidly asleep again. This can repeat many times a night, and can often become a continuous cycle of waking and falling asleep.

What are the main causes of Sleep Apnoea?

Primarily, sleep apnoea is caused by the narrowing of your airways at the back of your mouth behind the tongue. For example enlarged tonsils or a set-back jaw may make the throat, meaning it will close easier and block off your airway easier. If you are overweight this is most likely to be the cause of a narrowing of your airway. Extra fat in the neck squashes the throat from the outside, particularly when the throat muscles become relaxed whilst asleep.

Who does it effect?

Middle-aged men are the most at risk, especially if they are obese. There are many people who have a normal BMI but still suffer, the reasons why they do can be a mystery. With young children sleep apnoea can be caused by enlarged tonsils during tonsillitis. Snoring and sleep apnoea is much more common than doctors and medical experts first thought, 3 in every 1000 men may be affected.

Severe drowsiness during the daytime is usually a tell tail sign of sleep apnoea. The feeling of being tired normally begins whilst you are reading a magazine or a book, or whilst doing boring things such as motorway driving or watching television. If the drowsiness gets worse, some people may even start falling asleep during eating or even talking. There may be many effects to the lives of sufferers and the people around them, some may even be fatal, if the sufferer falls asleep behind the wheel of their car for example. Your loved ones may be suffering from the effects of your sleep apnoea, they too will most likely be losing sleep due to the excessive snoring.

Sleep Apnoea Treatment.

With mild sleep apnoea simple approaches to the treatment and cure may help. Stopping drinking, sleeping on your side and especially losing weight can all help stop snoring and prevent sleep apnoea. There are many medical devices available in the UK to help prevent sleep apnoea, including sprays, splints and perhaps the most effective of these devices, sleep apnoea mouthguards or mandibular advancement devices.

For chronic sleep apnoea there is one main treatment which will help, "nasal continuous positive airway pressure" or CPAP for short. To deliver this air a mask is worn during sleep just over the nose and connected to a small silent air compressor beside the bed. Breathing is then able to return to normal during sleep with the air gently blowing through the nose, holding open the throat. For people with major sleep apnoea, CPAP machines will bring huge benefits with their drowsiness disappearing. For people with mild sleep apnoea dental devices and mouthguards may be a better option.

Source: EzineArticles
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