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According to SleepApnea.org, over 22 million people in the United States suffer from sleep apnea, and 80% of moderate and severe sleep apnea sufferers go undiagnosed. This condition is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep. Because this occurs when the person is asleep, many do not realize they even have sleep apnea.

How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?

There are three types of sleep apnea:

·  Obstructive. This is the most common form of sleep apnea and occurs when throat muscles relax.

·  Central. This type occurs when the brain does not send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.

·  Complex. This occurs when a person has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

There is a lot of overlap between the symptoms of the different types of sleep apnea. If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you might have this sleep disorder. These symptoms include:

·  Snoring

·  Episodes in which your breathing stops during sleep

·  Dry mouth when you wake up

·  Headache when you wake up

·  Daytime sleepiness

·  Difficult paying attention while awake

·  Irritability

·  Difficulty staying asleep

Talk to your doctor if you believe you or your loved one might have sleep apnea. Although snoring is a common symptom, not everyone who has sleep apnea snores, and it is important to note that some of the symptoms of sleep apnea may need to be observed by another person.

Septoplasty For Treating This Condition

A septoplasty is a treatment option that is used to correct a deviated septum, the wall between the nostrils in the nose. A deviated septum can block the nose and affect airflow. Sometimes this means that air cannot flow through one or both nostrils. When the septum bends, breathing through the nose can become difficult.

Your doctor may recommend a septoplasty as a treatment for snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. Oftentimes nasal obstruction plays a role in sleep apnea, so a septoplasty, sometimes combined with turbinate reduction, makes more room in the nose and allows air to pass more effectively through the nostrils. Usually this is an outpatient procedure, and there is only a short amount of downtime for the patient.

Because so many cases go undiagnosed and unnoticed, if you believe you might have sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor will likely examine your nose and throat and may recommend a sleep study. If any of the above symptoms feel in line with your experiences, talk to your doctor today.

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What is Sleep Apnea?

The Greek word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” There are three types of apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed; of the three, obstructive is the most common. Despite the difference in the root cause of each type, in all three, people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. Mixed apnea, as the name implies, is a combination of the two. With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for them to resume breathing, but consequently sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality.

Sleep apnea is very common, as common as adult diabetes, and affects more than twelve million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Risk factors include being male, overweight, and over the age of forty, but sleep apnea can strike anyone at any age, even children. Yet still because of the lack of awareness by the public and healthcare professionals, the vast majority remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated, despite the fact that this serious disorder can have significant consequences.

Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, and headaches. Moreover, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Several treatment options exist, and research into additional options continues.

Sleep Apnea Facts

  • Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors usually can’t detect the condition during routine office visits. Also, there are no blood tests for the condition.
  • Most people who have sleep apnea don’t know they have it because it only occurs during sleep. A family member and/or bed partner may first notice the signs of sleep apnea.
  • The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This most often means that the airway has collapsed or is blocked during sleep. The blockage may cause shallow breathing or breathing pauses.

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