Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder in which
a person has one or more pauses in breathing or
has shallow breaths during sleep. Breathing pauses
can last from a few seconds to minutes occurring
about five to 30 times or more per hour. These
pauses in breathing are usually followed by a
loud snort or choking sound, which is the body’s
way to move or wake itself in order to get air.
Apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition
that disrupts sleep three or more nights per week.
This sleep disorder results in poor sleep quality,
fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness. Most
people do not know they have sleep apnea; it is
often undiagnosed and there are no blood tests
to check for it. Usually a family member or sleep
partner may first notice the signs of sleep apnea.
most common form is Obstructive
Sleep Apnea (OSA),
which the airway is collapsed or blocked during
sleep. Blockage may cause shallow breathing or
breathing pauses. This condition mostly occurs
with people who are overweight, but it can affect
anyone. Another less common form of sleep apnea
is central sleep apnea. In this condition, an
area of the brain that controls breathing does
not send the correct signals to the breathing
muscles, thus resulting in little or no effort
to breathe for brief periods.
of sleep apnea include the increased risk for
diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, high blood
pressure, irregular heart beats, obesity, stroke
and the increased chance of having work-related
or driving accidents.
for children and adults includes breathing devices,
mouthpieces, changes in lifestyle, medications
and surgery. Treatment for this condition aims
at enlarging airway dimensions, as well as decreasing
collapsibility of the airway.
sleep apnea in children can be more difficult,
because symptoms are more subtle than in adults.
About 10% of Children
are Affected by this Sleep Disorder. The
main cause of sleep apnea in children is enlarged
adenoid and tonsillar tissues. Symptoms in children
include bed wetting, daytime fatigue, hyperactive
behavior, night terrors, poor school performance
due to the inability to concentrate, restless
sleep, snoring and sweating during sleep.
Individuals with sleep apnea are usually tired
during the day due to lack of quality
sleep, which is usually caused by a blocked or
partially obstructed airway. The airway is formally
composed of the upper and lower jaws, tongue,
tonsils, soft palate and the side wall of the
throat. Sleep apnea surgery addresses all the
different areas of the airway in order to keep
an airway open for optimal breathing during sleep.
At Eastern Carolina ENT, we are dedicated to
guide you to better sleep patterns resulting in
a good nights' sleep.