Sleep Apnea means absence of breath. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway from the mouth to the lung collapses during sleep. The person with sleep apnea may have hundreds of these episodes throughout the night, disrupting their sleep and reducing oxygen supply to vital organs. Sleep apnea is a common condition affecting about 5% of adults. Fortunately effective treatment is available and once treated the person with sleep apnea leads a normal healthy life.
People with sleep apnea usually snore loudly and have restless sleep. Sleep apnea is associated with heart attacks and stroke. Signs and symptoms such as snoring, obesity, observed apnea and sleepiness in the day may suggest that a person has sleep apnea but the best way to be really sure is with an overnight sleep study. In the sleep study the patient is wired up and attached to computers which measure their sleep, their breathing and oxygen levels. In many people sleep apnea results from being overweight. If this is the case, losing weight may help or even cure the apnea. In any case, losing weight may assist with cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure and with diabetes management.
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