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sleep apnea

Uploaded by dbane on Nov 21, 2003

Sleep Apnea
Sleep is essential to life; it is one of several components, including food and water, which keep the living alive. However, a significant percentage of the human population has considerable difficulty reaching and maintaining Stage IV within their sleeping patterns, the stage that allows the mind and body to fall into a deep and restorative sleep, otherwise known as REM sleep. At the core of this difficulty is a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea, a "serious, potentially life-threatening condition that is far more common than generally understood" (Sleep Apnea). Indeed, obstructive sleep apnea can be very dangerous if it is not properly detected and treated.
What is Sleep Apnea? Research findings indicate that nearly eighteen million Americans suffer with the dangerous and exhausting effects of sleep apnea, in which "certain mechanical and structural problems in the airway cause the interruptions in breathing during sleep" (Sleep Apnea). It is important for the student to know that telltale signs of a potential problem include loud snoring, obesity, high blood pressure and a physical blockage of the nose, throat or upper airway. Its prevalence appears to be genetic to some degree; however, its appearance in overweight patients also indicates that its composition is rooted in both genetics and environment.
Sleep apnea occurs in two separate modes: central and obstructive, with central sleep apnea being less common between the two. The brain fails to send proper signals to the breathing muscles as a means by which to commence respirations during sleep in central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, on the other hand, is significantly more Common, transpiring at the point when air is obstructed from flowing into or out of the nose or mouth, "characterized by repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction that occur during sleep, usually associated with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation" (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). It is important for the student to know that an apneic event may take place up to twenty or thirty times per hour - sometimes even more - followed by a noted episode of snoring. Important to note is the fact that snoring, in and of itself, is not indicative of sleep apnea; rather, it is but one telltale symptom (Sleep Apnea). Sleep apnea may occur during the inherent relaxation associated with sleep, when the tongue and throat muscles soften and inevitably block the airway. This relaxation goes even further when the soft palate muscles and...

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Uploaded by:   dbane

Date:   11/21/2003

Category:   Science And Technology

Length:   7 pages (1,528 words)

Views:   1148

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