Definition of the Disease
Sleep apnea is known as a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or episodes of very low breathing during sleep. Apnea is every pause in breathing and it usually lasts for at least 10 seconds and sometimes even minutes. Apnea pauses can occur 5-30 times in an hour. The disease is diagnosed with a sleep study or polysomnogram, which is an overnight sleep test. It occurs mainly in three forms obstructive, central and mixed or complex sleep apnea, which is a combination of obstructive or central. While in central sleep apnea (CSA) breathing is interrupted by lacking a respiratory effort, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the breathing procedure is interrupted by a physical block to airflow accompanied by snoring.
Even with the difficulties in breathing associated with this disease, the victim is not aware of breathing difficulties. In fact, others who witness the victim as he/she sleeps recognize it. In most cases, the symptoms go for years before identification, a time in which the sufferer becomes accustomed to daytime sleepiness and fatigue as well as significant sleep disturbance levels. The most known symptoms of sleep apnea include slower reaction time, vision problems, daytime fatigue, moodiness, and belligerence.
Sleep apnea affects some parts of the brain and is determined by using standard test batteries. When the executive functioning part of the brain is affected, the victim’s way of planning and initiating tasks are affected. When the part that deals with attention is affected, the victim has difficult in paying attention, processing information, and working effectively. Since there is disruption in daytime cognitive state, behavioral effects are evidenced. Sleep apnea can also lead to sleep paralysis, defined as fear of sleep, which when it gets to extreme, it is referred to as Insomnia resulting to depression. Lastly, sleep apnea can also lead to liver malfunction especially for fatty liver diseases...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document