Friday, October 5, 2007

Sleep Apnea

Roar ... roar ... It was not sound of a lion or other wild animal, but it was Gus's snoring sound. hehehe ... I am a light sleeper, so I wake up every time I hear any noise.

It sounds normal, doesn't it? Gus snored while he was sleeping (so do many other people). But it was not normal! Gus was diagnosed with sleep apnea after he got checked out by a special doctor. It meant Gus would stop breathing repeatedly during his sleep. His sleep apnea also made him very tired during the day.

Here is a short description of sleep apnea according to Amerian Sleep Apnea Association:

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.

There are treatments for sleep apnea: surgery or using a CPAP machine.
After a lot of thought, Gus chose to use a CPAP machine. CPAP is short for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It blows air at prescribed pressure.

His machine is great! It has been helping Gus to sleep really well at night. Gus didn't feel comfortable using it at first, but he kept using it. Now he doesn't have problem sleeping at all.

The good news is CPAP machine is covered by insurance! You can click here to find out more information about CPAP machine.

I hope this information is useful for you all. Because sleeping better can make your days better too! ;) Good luck guys!