Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is a condition in which the patient has recurrent blockage to his breathing during sleep. The muscles of the upper airway relax as the patient is entering the deeper stages of sleep, causing the upper airway to collapse. Oxygen levels in the blood drop, and there is a reflex rise in heart rate and blood pressure. The brain will arouse enough to allow the muscles in the upper airway to regain their tone and open up the airway and allow the blockage to resolve. However, as the patient again attempts to fall into a deeper stage of sleep, the process recurs.
Is obstructive sleep apnoea dangerous and must it be treated?
Obstructive sleep apnoea has been linked to increased chances of heart disease, stroke, and irregular heart rhythms. Unfortunately, not all the long term effects of untreated sleep apnoea are known today. However, continual lack of refreshing sleep can lead to depression, irritability, lack of energy, a high risk of motor vehicular accidents, workplace accidents and many other problems. Most specialists agree that obstructive sleep apnoea is dangerous and should not be ignored.
If I have sleep apnoea, how can I help myself?
Besides seeking medical attention, there are several things doctors suggest you can do to alleviate obstructive sleep apnoea including weight loss, quitting smoking, eliminating alcohol and avoiding sedatives especially before bedtime.
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