Among the many sleeping disorders, sleep apnea has emerged as one of the most dangerous. That is because it can result in brain damage, heart failure, and death. In some cases the damage can happen as soon as the person wakes up in the morning. As a result, the victim may experience memory loss, confusion, irritability, unsteadiness, or depression.
Sleep apnea occurs when the person stops breathing for a brief period of time during sleep. When the problem occurs, the body begins to relax and oxygenated blood flows into the brain. This happens in normal breathing but in sleep apnea the breathing is stopped by the obstruction in the airway.
The severe form of the disorder is called obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition, the person stops breathing for up to five minutes at a time. This results in shallow breathing during sleep and in some cases will result in unconsciousness.
There is no known cause for the severe form of the disorder. However, the possible causes are obesity, depression, kidney disease, frequent alcohol consumption, coronary artery disease, thyroid disease, extreme stress, insomnia, trauma, smoking, diet, chronic migraine headaches, nasal polyps, pregnancy, extreme cold, thyroid disease, smoking, or mental illness. However, a few cases have been identified.
A number of patients suffering from a weight problem may experience problems with sleep apnea. Obesity has been shown to increase the body’s metabolism and to make it harder for the body to regulate breathing. Consequently, the body is unable to get rid of carbon dioxide.
In addition, fatty foods can also cause difficulty with breathing. It is also recommended that people who smoke quit smoking. Smokers often experience sleep apnea and because they are constantly exhaling cigarette smoke into their lungs, the atmosphere changes, and breathing become harder.
Diet is an important consideration in helping to treat the disorder. For example, a person’s lifestyle may cause sleep apnea. Those who suffer from obesity and smoking should try to go on a healthier diet that includes lots of fiber.
It is also important to avoid fatty food. Fatty foods and drinks contain sugar, which stimulates the brain and the body’s cells. Therefore, they are especially dangerous to people with sleep apnea disorder.
People who do not smoke should also consider changing their habits. Smoking contributes to the problem by causing the thickening of the mucus lining in the throat and making it difficult for the muscles to relax and to become less constricted. Therefore, if you stop smoking, you will be able to avoid sleep apnea.
In addition, a person with sleep apnea should try to reduce their stress. In fact, sleep apnea can cause severe muscle spasms and, therefore, the victim needs to try to lower their stress level. Sleeping pills have also been known to work, although the results vary depending on the person’s tolerance to the drug.
Before embarking on a treatment regimen for sleep apnea, the victim should first consult a doctor to make sure they are not suffering from any other conditions. If the patient has no underlying illnesses, the doctor may recommend using a mild sedative such as Xanax. If this does not work, surgery may be recommended, although the results are often mixed.