What is Sleep Apnea?
“Apnea” translated from Greek means “without breath”.
People who suffer from sleep apnea may not know it, because the disturbance in breathing may not fully awaken them. All they know is that they are regularly tired to the point of exhaustion and so is the person they are sharing their living space with. This is because of the loud snoring sounds and restlessness at night associated with sleep apnea.
A person who has sleep apnea might have hundreds of episodes a night, each lasting from a few seconds to a minute or so. Try holding your breath for 60 seconds, and imagine doing this throughout the night.
Furthermore a person who does not receive the proper treatment for sleep apnea can shorten their lifespan, with increased risks of heart attack, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and many more.
In the past sleep apnea has been seen most frequently in men, but recent studies show a comparable amount in women and even children.
Your primary care physician or general dentist can do the initial screening for sleep apnea, but in order to be properly diagnosed one must do a “sleep study”. “A sleep study examines one’s sleep and generates several records of activity during several hours of sleep, usually about six. Generally, these records include an electroencephalogram, or EEG, measuring brain waves; an electroculogram, or EOG, measuring eye and chin movements that signal the different stages of sleep; an electrocardiogram, EKG, measuring heart rate and rhythm; chest bands that measure respiration; and additional monitors that sense oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood and record leg movement. None of the devices is painful and there are no needles involved. …Usually the bedroom where the test is conducted is more like a comfortable hotel room than a hospital room.” http://www.sleepapnea.org/diagnosis-and-treatment/diagnosis.html