Sleep Apnea - What Triggers It?

By: George Mitchell Sr.

We often think about loud snoring as we think of unwanted gas and belching: it is something which only impacts individuals around us. In some cases, this is correct. But when snoring is the result of sleep apnea, it represents a lot more than an annoyance to our night time partner; it indicates a threat to our overall health. Sleep apnea is really a persistent condition that's defined as happening when a person has one or more breathing pauses or shallow breaths as they sleep.

The actual breathing pauses can be as short as a couple of seconds or even so long as a few minutes. The actual apnea generally disrupts an individual's rest between 3 and 5 times each week using the breathing disruptions happening in between 5 and Thirty or even more times each hour.

Sleep apnea has two classifications: obstructive and central. Obstructive apnea is the more common of the two and results from a breathing passage that collapses or becomes blocked during sleep, resulting in breathing pauses or shallow breathing. When the sufferer breathes, the air that pushes beyond the blockage often causes loud snoring. Even though it takes place more regularly in those who are overweight, obstructive apneas can happen in anyone. Central apnea commonly occurs with obstructive apnea but could also occur by itself, whereby snoring is rarely found. Central apnea occurs when the area of the brain that controls breathing does not send the right signals to the breathing muscles.

Being obese is easily the most typically mentioned reason for obstructive apnea. The correlation between obesity and obstructive apnea is a result of soft fat tissue thickening the walls of the windpipe, causing it to narrow and making it more difficult to keep open. But there are more physiological problems that will probably cause obstructive apnea as well. One such condition happens when a person's tongue and tonsils are large compared to their windpipe opening. Once the person lies down to sleep, the drifting of the tongue and tonsils for the back from the mouth may cause a partially or totally blocked windpipe opening. Obstructive apnea can also result when the shape of an individual's neck and head naturally allow for a smaller airway in the mouth and throat area.

Both obstructive and central apnea can increase the risk for heart attack, high blood pressure, heart attack, hypertension, stroke and diabetes. However they can also comprise the defense mechanisms by creating a loss of adaptive immune responses, making it less efficient at fighting off infection. With apnea, as with every sleep disorders, the immune system weakens due to insufficient sleep, potentially leading to an increased risk for from cancer to the common flu.

Snoring is typically something that we discover embarrassing in ourselves and annoying in other people, but it can also be an indicator of a potentially deadly sleep problem. Should you consistently snore and awaken feeling tired or even should you simply getting out of bed feeling tired with an ongoing basis, make contact with an AMA accredited sleep clinic and resolve your sleeping issue to enhance your current and long-term health.

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While conducting research for this article, I learned about problems with sleep and sleep hygiene at

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