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7HourSleep Article - Overview of Sleep Apnea

Overview of Sleep Apnea
Author: Health Hints    Date Published: 01 May 2006

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Do you find yourself excessively sleepy in the daytime...even after a proper amount of sleep? Does your bed partner keep you awake with loud snoring, snorting, gasping, or choking sounds during the night? These are just some of the symptoms that may be associated with a treatable disorder known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is clinically defined in adults as a cessation of breath that lasts at least 10 seconds and in children as a cessation of breath that lasts the equivalent of two-and-a-half missed breaths.1

People who suffer from sleep apnea may go without breath 10 or more seconds per episode and may have episode after episode throughout the night, every night. In fact, apnea is a Greek word meaning 'without breath.'1 Those with apnea literally stop breathing in their sleep or have very shallow breathing (known as hypopnea) while sleeping—all of which can lead to a reduction in airflow, struggle to breathe, and dropped levels of oxygen in the blood.1, 2

Sleep apnea is very common, as common as adult diabetes.1 It is estimated that 12 to 18 million Americans have sleep apnea.2 Though sleep apnea is a common disorder, many people don’t know they have it because they awaken and start breathing again over and over during the night, but they are not aware of these events. Unless a bed partner or other household member notices it, the person may not recognize that their daytime symptoms are tied to their sleep. One to three percent of children ages 2–18 are also estimated to have sleep apnea; however, because children do not typically complain of tiredness during the day and do not display overly 'sleepy' behaviors, such as yawning,3 the disorder may be missed. Left undiagnosed and/or untreated, sleep apnea can have a multitude of consequences for adults and children...it can, in fact, be life-threatening.


Types of sleep apnea 2
Risk factors 2
Signs & symptoms 3
Potential consequences 3
Consequences of Undiagnosed and/or Untreated Sleep Apnea are Serious 4
What happens during an apneic event? 4
Evaluation & diagnosis 4
Check your insurance 5
Treatment 6
Anesthetic & the apneic patient 7
Children & sleep apnea 8
Helping your loved ones 9
Web resources 10
References 11




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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for education purposes only and intended to answer some of the frequently encountered questions about the meaning of 'Sleep' and 'Fatigue'. If you have any questions regarding the information contained on the website or in the brochures please consult with your healthcare practitioner.