Sleep apnea is a disorder defined as a pause of breathing while asleep. There are three types of sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common. This type of sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction which stops the flow of air to the nose and mouth. The second type is Central Sleep disorder (CSA). This type of sleep issue involves the region of the brain and nerves that regulate breathing do not function properly which causes breathing to be impaired. The third and final type of sleeping issue is Mixed Sleep issue and is rare. The type of sleep issue is a combination of Obstructive Sleeping issue and Central Sleep problem Each pause in the breathing while sleeping is called an apnea.
It is believed the first documented reference to sleep issue was described in writing entitled "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club" by Charles Dickens in 1837.
In 1965 a French doctor, Dr. Gastault and his colleges studied individuals with the sleep issue which is now known as sleep issue. In 1981, a group of Australian doctors documented treatment of sleep issue patients with what continuous positive airway pressure during sleep (CPAP), one type of successful treatment that is used by sleep issue patients today.
In 1990 the non-profit organization, The American Sleeping disease Association (ASAA), was founded. The purpose of this organization is to increase the understanding of sleeping disease. The ASAA works with other non-profit organizations and societies of health care professionals to assist in reaching those individuals that are undiagnosed with sleeping disease. If undiagnosed, and left untreated, sleeping disease can be life-threatening and lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
In 1988, the ASAA created the A.W.A.K.E. (Alert, Well, And Keeping Energetic) Network. This network plays a role of advocacy and education about sleeping disease. This network is made up of hundreds of groups in almost every U.S. state. The network provides advice about types of sleeping disease therapy, sleeping disease treatment, weight loss, and new research findings. ASAA publishes a newsletter entitled The Wake-Up Call which provides useful medical information about the disease.
Sleep problem is not a rare disorder, but it is often an undiagnosed disorder. An individual with sleep problem is not aware they are not breathing properly. Even though individuals with sleep problem notice symptoms associated with sleep problem, most of the time individual's with sleep problem seek medical attention because of symptoms noticed by their sleep partner.
Sleep problem is diagnosed by a sleep study test called polysomnography (PSG) which is conducted by sleep specialist at a sleep clinic. The PSG test records the bio-physiological changes while the patient sleeps. The PSG monitors the brain waves, eye movement, muscle activity, and heart rhythm of the patient. A patient is said to have sleep apnea if the PSG test defines five or more episodes of apnea (pause in breathing) per hour. The PSG also diagnoses which of the three types of sleep apnea the patient experiences.