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Home Page > Improve Sleep > Sleep Disorder: Sleep Apnea

Sleep Disorder: Sleep Apnea
• Overview
• Incidence and Prevalence
• Causes
• Symptoms
• Conventional Treatment
• Alternative Treatments
• Magnetic Products

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder which is characterized by pauses in breathing. Such episodes occur repeatedly during the night. This condition is diagnosed when there are five or more episodes per hour. There is no diagnostic tool available to detect this disorder, and in fact the individual who has this condition is rarely aware that he has any respiratory difficulty. Sleep apnea is usually detected by people witnessing the episodes. It is often diagnosed after many years when the individual has suffered the effects of the sleep apnea for a long period of time.

Statistically the following factors increase the prevalence and risk of acquiring of sleep apnea:
• Age: Prevalence is greater in individuals 30 yrs and above
• Gender: Males are 2-3 times more likely to have this condition
• Family History: This condition has been shown to have familial tendencies
• Ethnic Background: Blacks, Hispanic and Pacific Islanders are more likely to acquire this condition than Whites, while Blacks tend to develop it at an earlier age.

There are a great number of causes of sleep apnea some of which include the following:
• Spine Deformities: Due to structural misshapenness such as scoliosis there may be an interference with breathing as it may play a part in sleep apnea.
• Craniofacial Deformities: Certain congenital disorders such Marfan’s syndrome and Down’s syndrome often present malformations of the head and face that may contribute to sleep apnea.
• Menopause: Though the reason is unknown, women past menopause tend to develop sleep apnea at the same rate as men.
• Weight: Approximately Ύ of those individuals with sleep apnea are obese. In fact it is the leading factor associated with sleep apnea.
• Neck Size: Extra fat and tissue surrounding the neck increases the risk of sleep apnea.
• Smoking: Smoking has been shown to excessively relax the throat muscles leading to blockage of the airways.

Symptoms that are associated with sleep apnea are excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue, headaches, heartburn or sour taste in the mouth, nocturia (nighttime urination), sweating during sleep. There are symptoms that others witness such as: apnea or lack of breathing episodes that may last from 5/hour to 50/hour depending on severity of condition; loud snoring; repeated tossing and turning; choking or gasping episodes during the night. In children symptoms may be bedwetting, doing poorly in school and snoring. There may be only one symptom in certain children with sleep apnea and that is growth delay.

Treatment can entail behavioral and lifestyle changes as well as medical intervention or complementary therapies.

Behavioral and Lifestyle Changes
• Weight Loss
• Sleeping on the side – to prevent the tongue from dropping to the back of the throat thereby blocking the airway.
• Avoidance of alcohol and sedatives which cause increased relaxation of the muscles including those in the throat which could obstruct the airway.
• Elevation of head of bed to encourage tongue and jaw to move forward
• Treatment or clearance of nasal congestion – which can be done with decongestants but restrict use of antihistamines that overly relax the throat muscles.

Medical/Surgical Intervention:
• Oral or Dental Appliances – these devices help keep the airways open by advancing the position of the tongue and soft palate.
• Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): CPAP works by gently blowing pressurized room air through the airway at a pressure high enough to keep the throat open.
• Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) – tightening and trimming of extra tissue in the throat
• Somnoplasty – Removal of part of the soft palate by the use of low-intensity radiofrequency signals.
• Somnoplasty – Removal of part of the soft palate by the use of low-intensity radiofrequency signals.
• Genioglossus advancement surgery a small projection is moved forward and the tongue attachment is repositioned anteriorly so that it is less likely to collapse backwards and block the airway during sleep.
• Maxillomandibular Expansion The upper and lower jaws are widened to improve the airway
• Maxillomandibular Advancement By moving the upper jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible) forward, the entire airway can be enlarged
• Nasal Reconstructive Surgery is for those who have abnormalities in the nose or upper airways. This surgery aims to open obstructed nasal passages.

Magnetic Therapy
Magnets can be utilized as a concomitant therapy to other conventional and alternative methods by promoting relaxation so vital in treating this disorder.
Click here for Magnetic Products

Additional Alternative Treatments:
• Acupuncture
• Herbal Therapy
• Homeopathy
• Hypnosis
• Massage
• Qi Gong
• Reiki
• Tai Chi
• Yoga

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