Two types of interruptions to the breathing have been identified in the medical profession: total blockages and partial blockages. When the tissue around the windpipe relaxes to such an extent that it completely blocks the air flow for ten seconds or more, total blockages, referred to as apnoeas are caused. As blockages which reduce airflow by 50% for ten seconds or more, partial blockages, or hypopnoeas, are defined.
Anything that limits an individual's sleep will leave that person feeling very tired, because sleep is a natural restorative activity which helps the brain and body to become re-energised. Each night, most adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep, and spent in the deepest part of the sleep cycle is around one fifth of that time. Forcing the brain to bring the individual into a lighter stage of sleep or even into a brief moment of wakefulness, each interruption in breathing alerts the brain to the fact that something is amiss. Sleep is seriously restricted, leaving sufferers combating day to day tiredness and irritability, because these events can happen several times per hour throughout the night.
The moment of wakefulness is so short, during the night, when the sufferer is awoken, that few people recall that they were even awake. Often becoming accustomed to the tiredness that comes with the condition, this presents the problem that not many sufferers realise that anything is wrong for a long time. For this reason, it is thought that only around one quarter of sufferers have been diagnosed. Some patients are only diagnosed when their partner expresses concern and persuades them to visit the doctor, because loud snoring and snorting during sleep are common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea.
For the disorder, there are several types of treatment, and many of them have proved to be successful. Because in the long term it increases the risk of a number of serious conditions such as type two diabetes, strokes and heart attacks, it is important that anybody who suspects that they have obstructive sleep apnoea should seek treatment. By means of a sleep study, diagnosis is usually made and for developing obstructive sleep apnoea, those people who smoke or who are overweight and are middle aged are in the higher risk category.
OSA is a serious sleep disorder that needs to be treated well in time lest it results in an aggravated situation. Treatments are available and after proper diagnosis by specialists, suitable treatments should be accepted so that the problem can be checked well in time.