Sleep apnea is a defect which is characterized by pauses in breathing or slow breathing in the period one is asleep, The condition causes interruptions in ones sleep due to the fact that during the period which the breathing is paused or is taking place at a slow level, the deep sleep is interrupted and a person shifts to light sleep. The interruptions last for periods which range from ten minutes to thirty minutes. The diagnosis of sleep apnea is complex and in most cases the disease goes unnoticed.
Similarly most patients do not realize they suffer from sleep apnea because it occurs during sleep. In most cases it is the patient’s partner that comes to discover it first especially because when the breathing pauses, the pause are normally broken by an abrupt snort or choking sound. Sleep apnea is responsible for most day time sleepiness. The obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and its occurrence signifies the collapse or blocked airway during the sleep. This blockage often leads to pause in breathing or the shallow breathing. Obstructive apnea commonly affect the overweight people but can affect anyone including the children especially when in the event that a child suffers from over enlarged tonsils.
The central Sleep apnea is another type of sleep apnea which is less common. It occurs when the part of the brain that sends the signal to the breathing muscles does not send the correct signal and therefore leads to a condition in which the breathing muscles do not react at all. Though it can affect practically anyone it occurs in people with certain medical problems or in those who take certain drugs. In some cases it occurs simultaneously with the obstructive apnea but can also take place in isolation
In the event that the sleep apnea goes untreated for long, it may lead to acutely dangerous medical conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, obesity or heart failure. It could similarly lead to diabetes or work related accident due to the perpetual lethargy that comes with having interrupted sleep.