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Stop People, What’s that Sound?
Sleep Apnea - A Nighttime Disaster Waiting to Happen.

December 31th, 2004

By Sal Roach

Over 18,000,000 Americans are suffering from sleep Apnea and all you can say is, "Stop Snoring." It’s not really that easy. It can also be, as seen by the recent death of star football legend Reggie White, deadly. Early rumors had it that White’s untimely death in his sleep was partially due to this condition, although those reports are yet to be confirmed.

Patients who suffer from this syndrome are at a higher risk for heart disease or to suffer a stroke. What is interesting is that those who suffer from this disorder also suffer, in about 50 percent of the cases, from hypertension.

Therefore, we can draw a conclusion that there is a direct coritlation between breathing disorders and stress filled lifestyles.

The most common form of Sleep Apnea in the United States is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, where there is a blockage of air from either the nose or the mouth. This blockage is what causes the heavy, deafening snoring, but more importantly, can cause long chokes and stoppages of breath, which range from a variety of severities, including death.

Obese or extremely overweight people are more likely to develop sever Sleep Apnea because the weight of the excess tissue around their necks actually crushes the breathing tubes, allowing for less air to flow through. Once again, good nutrition and proper weight management can save you from a variety of problems.

Barbiturates such as Valium and heavy consumption of alcohol can ignite a series of Apnea lapses, although there is a belief that it is genetic, and occurs more in men than it does in women.

While not all cases develop serious problems, there are some serious side effects. Even though a person may stay asleep, they have not been receiving enough oxygen to their brain, causes them to become fatigued and lack energy the next day.

The lack of steady Oxygen can also cause severe depression and sexual dysfunction.

As with most disorders, there is a snowball effect that starts to require heavy dosaes of medications just to keep up with the deterioration of your body.

So what can you do?

Although there are many pharmaceuticals that can help deal with the side effects, medications are not usually prescribed in dealing with this. One can elect to have a number of surgeries, ranging from a reduction in fat tissue in the neck to the widening of the airways in your throat.

There is a school of thought that believes that sleeping on your side is healthier for patients with Apnea that sleeping on the back because of the stimulation you receive from the movements. Special pillows are available to create those situations.

If you or the one you are sleeping next to or with is having severe snoring problems, they could be suffering form sleep Apnea, and need more than a shove in the back or a pillow over your ears.

Each case is slightly unique and requires its own individual evaluation and treatment. Usually, it is nothing drastic.

Don’t take any chances, especially in these seasons when your immune system is at its weakest.

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