WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?



What is sleep apnea? Sleep apnea (sleep Apnia) is when an individual stops breathing for 10 seconds or more frequently during his or hers night sleep. Apnea is a technical term for suspension of external breathing. During apnea there is no movement of the muscles of respiration and the volume of the lungs initially remains unchanged.
Sleep Apnea is relatively new to the medical community with the first studies being done in the mid 1960’s. Sleep Apnea was identified by French and German investigators that focussed their efforts on answering the what is sleep apnea question. In these early days of studies, obstructive sleep apnea was described as when individuals were severely affected, they were often faced with severe hypoxemia, hypercapnia and congestive heart failure.

Unbelievably, tracheotomies were the recommended treatment and at the time were considered as life-saving procedures. However, post-operative complications in the stoma were frequent because like today most people suffering from sleep apnea are very obese and short-necked individuals.

Fortunately, today the management of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was revolutionized with what is known as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). In 1981 Colin Sullivan and his associates conceptualized CPAP in Sydney, Australia.

Like everything else that is new, the first models of CPAP machines were very primitive. The models were bulky and noisy, but it did not take long before the design was improved, so much so that by the late 1980s CPAP was widely adopted around the world.

After they perfected the CPAP machine, the search was on to find affected individuals as doctors were realizing that many other symptoms such as high blood pressure, kidney failure, diabetes, migraines, and many more were caused or linked to the fact that patients had sleep apnea.

This led to the establishment of hundreds of specialized sleep clinics dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders and to discover what is sleep apnea. Though many types of sleep problems are recognized, the vast majority of patients attending these centers have sleep disordered breathing.

In these facilities the first step is a sleep study. What is a Sleep Study? Basically a sleep study allows doctors to find out how well (on in most cases not well) you sleep.

We are finding out more and more each day about the importance of sleep and thus the importance of sleep studies because these studies allow us to find disorders that if untreated could lead to more serious issues like high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and even such things as kidney problem, heart burn, depression, and anxiety.

Enough of all the nice things though. Treating sleep disorders can change one’s life as it as done for me. Through this website, I am hoping to be able to help others suffering from sleep disorders to get the information that was not readily available to me. For more information about sleep studies go to our special page found here and you will be able to answer the what is sleep apnea question.

If your sleep study results in a diagnosis of Sleep Apnea, you will have to attend a second sleep study where you will be fitted with a CPAP machine. During this sleep study they will regulate the CPAP machine to the level required to bring your apneas to a controlled level. By the way, every human being has Apneas during the night so it is almost impossible to get down to a level of 0 apneas.

In my case, my sleep apnea was so severe that they stopped the original sleep study and fitted me in the middle of the night with a CPAP machine. Today I enjoy a great night sleep, every night. I do not have to sleep as many hours and I wake up refreshed all because I went for a sleep study. I urge you to please talk to your doctor if you feel tired or very sleepy while at work or school most days of the week. You also may want to talk to your doctor if you often have trouble falling or staying asleep or if you wake up too early and are not able to get back to sleep. These are common signs of a sleep disorder.

deprivation of sleep | sleep apnea | what is sleep apnea