Sleep Apnea

Sleep disorders affect quite a large number of people throughout the world. Some of these disorders are more severe than others, but most can be managed pretty well. Sleep apnea is one fairly common sleep disorder.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder which, literally, means sleep “without breath.” There are three forms of sleep apnea including: obstructive, central and mixed, but obstructive is the most common. In all of the different forms, the sufferers stop breathing in their sleep for a minute or possibly even longer.

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when there is some sort of blockage of the airway at night. Typically it is the soft tissue at the back of the throat that causes the blockage when it collapses. Central sleep apnea does not have any blockages, but instead the brain just fails to remind the muscles to breathe. Mixed is obviously a combination of the two.

Sleep apnea is pretty common, especially in Americans. Those with the highest risk for sleep apnea are typically overweight males that are over the age of forty. This order does not discriminate though so anyone may find themselves with it including healthy-weight women and children.

Sleep apnea symptoms include a variety of problems. When this disorder goes untreated it can cause high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. The sufferer may have memory loss issues, weight gain, impotency and headaches as well. This disorder is possibly responsible for many motor vehicle crashes and job impairments as well.

IF other treatments fail and the doctors feel it is imperative, then they may recommend a sleep apnea surgery. With obstructive sleep apnea, there are a few different procedures that they may perform, one of which is a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) where the soft tissue at the back of the throat is removed including the uvula, soft palate and the throat tissue behind. This surgery helps to increase the opening for the airway and improve the movement of the soft palate. Another procedure is a Pillar Palatal Implant where the surgeon places three small polyester string pieces into the soft palate of the patient. This procedure is mostly used to reduce snoring by cutting down the vibrations and movement of the soft palate. Sometimes sleep apnea is caused by facial deformities or obstructions, which can be corrected through other surgeries. When children are faced with sleep apnea, typically doctors will recommend that they have their adenoids and tonsils removed.


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