Sleep apnea is basically a disorder where a person stops breathing in their sleep. It can be very frightening when you wake up out of breath and do not know why.
Sleep apnea does not affect only adults it also affects children. It has been proven that premature babies are more likely to be born with this disorder. Often, if there are no other complications, the baby will be sent home with an apnea monitor. This is a special piece of equipment that monitors the baby's breathing when he or she is sleeping. If the baby has an apnea attack, a very loud alarm will sound. This is usually enough to bring the baby out of the attack and he or she will start breathing again. There are times however when infant CPR is necessary to save the baby.
Sleep apnea is a serious disorder, and can be fatal. If the person suffering from it does not wake up and breath, it will be fatal. There is also equipment for adults who suffer from sleep apnea. Cpaps, masks, breathing machines and headgear are all medical equipment that is used for sleep apnea.
There are many things that can cause sleep apnea, both physical and medical. One of the physical causes of apnea is when you sleep on your back; the muscles in your mouth and neck relax to the point where your tongue folds in the back of your throat cutting off air to your lungs. After a few minutes, your body's reflexes take over and you wake up gasping for air. It is recommended that those who suffer from apnea sleep on their back or stomach. Another physical causes of apnea is weight gain. When a person gains weight, it is not all in one place. The face and neck gain weight and when this happens, it can affect your breathing especially at night during sleep. Special equipment was designed to fit into the mouth and keep the tongue from folding there before reducing the chance of an apnea event.
Studies have indicated that the size and shape of the head may have a direct link to sleep apnea. The shape of the head and neck are formed in a way where the muscles are forced to close over the airway when laying down.
A medical cause for apnea is large adenoids and tonsils. These organs can also block air to the lungs when the victim sleeps on his or her back. In most cases, apnea symptoms disappear when the tonsils and adenoids are surgically removed.
It is important to get treatment as soon as possible if you think you are experiencing sleep apnea. The longer it goes untreated the more dangerous it becomes. Untreated sleep apnea can affect every part of your body including your heart.