Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Treatment

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorders where there is a pause in breathing for some seconds before the person resumes breathing. This may result in a disruption in the normal sleep pattern and in severe cases can result in an in an inability to get good night sleep. It so follows that those severely affected may become sleepy and feel tired during the day.

Even though the sleep disorder might appear to be a common and not-so-serious, it can lead to some serious health problems. If left untreated, the disorder can result in:

  • Depression
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Hypertension
  • High blood pressure

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Below are the most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Insomnia
  • Restless sleeping patterns
  • Choking or gasping during sleep
  • Night Sweats
  • Snoring frequently and loudly
  • Trouble with breathing during sleep

Other symptoms indicating a possible disorder are:

  • Fatigue
  • Morning headaches
  • Loss of memory
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate for long
  • Depressions

Types of Sleep Apnea

Even though all the three types of sleeping disorders below differ as far as their causes and treatment are concerned, one aspect remains common – some parts of the respiratory system narrow down and impair the percentage of oxygen reaching the subject’s lungs. Here are the 3 known types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

This is a highly common form of the disorder found in a majority of the individuals suffering from the sleeping disorder. Obstructive sleep is a physical disorder. This type of the disorder is typically characterized by individuals who have:

  • More body weight
  • Small jawline
  • A small air passage in the trachea (windpipe)
  • Large tongue
  • Tonsils

Central sleep apnea (CSA)

This is a comparatively rare form of the sleeping disorder in which the tracheal muscles do not sag too much extent, and the air passage remains large enough so that enough air can pass through. However, in this particular disorder, the diaphragm and the chest muscles temporarily fail to function effectively, which results in reduced oxygen levels in the blood.

Mixed sleep apnea (MSA)

In sporadic cases, some individuals experience both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea same time. The psychological and pathological impact of this disorder cannot be predetermined or ascertained since many factors affect its manifestation.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

The treatment for the sleep disorder varies by the level to which the person is suffering from it. The treatment can be administered in the form of therapies and surgeries depending upon how much the disorder is affecting the individual. The treatment consists of:

Therapies

Below are the therapies available for different sleep disorders:

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)

This therapy is used if the individual has moderate to the severe sleep disorder. The treatment consists of a machine which delivers air (oxygen) through a mask placed over the nose while asleep. The air pressure remains higher than that of the surrounding air and is just strong enough to keep the air passages open.

Adjustable airway pressure devices

In this therapy, a particular type of air pressure device automatically adjusts the air pressure and oxygen levels while asleep. The basic functioning of the invention is similar to that used for CPAP therapy. However, it is a more advanced model and supports bi-level positive airway pressure (BPAP).
Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV)

This airflow device learns and understands the regular breathing pattern, and subsequently stores the information in a built-in computer. While asleep, the machine regulates the air pressure to normalize the breathing pattern and prevents any pauses in the breathing activity. ASV is more successful than CPAP while treating central sleep apnea in some individuals.

Oral appliances

This therapy involves wearing an oral appliance specially designed to keep the throat “open”. Oral tools are easier to use. Some devices are specially designed to keep the throat open by bringing the jaw forward, which can at times even relieve snoring as well as prevent mild obstructive sleep apnea.

Surgery

The primary objective of sleep apnea related surgery is to remove any excess tissues from the nose or the throat which may be causing the blockage of the air passage. This will be a discussion for another day.

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Know About Helicobacter Pylori Infection

What are H. Pylori?

Helicobacter Pylori Infection is caused by a type of bacteria that affects the digestive tract and attacks the stomach lining. Although regarded as harmless, a majority of ulcers found in the stomach & small intestine occur due to H. pylori. An individual suffering from H. pylori will be affected by diseases like peptic ulcers and an advanced stomach inflammatory disease known as Gastritis. These spiral-shaped bacteria are accustomed to living in a harsh and acidic environment of the stomach. The unique spiral shape allows the bacteria to enter the stomach lining, it can decrease the ability of the immune system.

Contaminated food and water, mouth-to-mouth interaction and faeces are some of the ways through which the infection can spread. The bacteria in the Helicobacter Pylori Infection exposes the stomach cells to harsh acids.

Helicobacter Pylori Infection: Symptoms

While there are no symptoms, however, when the infection leads to an ulcer, there could be some serious abdominal pain. This pain is excruciating and may keep coming and going. A number of other symptoms include – excessive burping, bloating, nausea, fever, lack of appetite etc. However, if you experience trouble in swallowing, anemia, and blood in the stool it is recommended to visit the doctor immediately. It is not just unhealthy people that get affected by the H. pylori even those that are conscious about their health. There is no exact reason why and how the H. pylori infect a person.

Risks Involved

A lot of the risk factors for H. pylori infection are caused due to adverse living conditions. Some of the living conditions that could lead to Helicobacter Pylori Infection are living in a crowded home. A reliable source of clean water reduces the risk of attracting the H. Pylori. Unsanitary living conditions are also some of the most common reason of H. pylori infection. For those that are living with someone who has H. pylori, the chances of cross infection are higher. The non-Hispanic Black/Mexican American assent are at more risk of contracting Helicobacter Pylori Infection.

Diagnosis of H. Pylori Infection

In order to detect the infection blood, a urea breath test and endoscopic biopsies are some of the tests that can diagnose the Infection. These chronic infections weaken the stomach’s ability to defend itself. It is difficult to completely eradicate the infection from the stomach, it requires a combination of antibiotics and protein pump inhibitor (PPI) in order to tackle the infection. If the infection is not treated and eradicated, then some patients may develop MALT lymphoma – a type of stomach cancer.

Preventative Measures

Doctors recommend several preventive measures to avoid ulcers such as — reducing the content of alcohol consumption and smoking. Patients with ulcers are also asked to avoid caffeine and are recommended to undergo radiation therapy. Reducing stress is also one of the prevention measures. Washing hands regularly with uncontaminated water is mandatory for patients. Currently, there are no specific vaccinations available for Helicobacter Pylori Infection. After having cured of the infection there are some patients who may experience a re-occurrence of H. pylori. About 50% of the world population is affected by this gram-negative bacterium. Unless treated some patients can experience colonization that can last lifelong.