Roughly 22 million Americans suffer with sleep apnea – the cessation of breathing while sleeping. It is a fairly under-recognized disease with life-damaging and life-shortening consequences. Much can be done for the cause of education regarding sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Overview
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder, caused by a lack of breathing during sleep. There are three types of sleep apnea:
1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when your airway is blocked as the tongue collapses against the soft palate, closing the airway.
2. Central Sleep Apnea occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe.
3. Complex Sleep Apnea is a combination of two separate sleep apnea conditions that rouses the sleeper to partially signal breathing to resume.
Positive airway pressure machines seem to be the most effective treatment option, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. Other treatment options include weight loss, avoiding sleeping on one’s back, nighttime dental devices that push the lower jaw or tongue forward to prevent the tongue and soft palate from falling.
Pediatric sleep apnea
Although sleep apnea is most common in men over age 40, there is a small percentage of children, approximately one to four percent, that struggle with sleep apnea as well. If your child frequently snores while they are asleep, they may be dealing with sleep apnea as the majority of children who deal with sleep apnea snore. The most effective way to treat pediatric sleep apnea is through the removal of tonsils and adenoids.
For more information on sleep apnea and its treatments, visit www.sleepapnea.org.