Sleep apnea was once treated as an emotional issue, but today the scientists are aware that this problem goes far beyond that. They believe that sleep apnea is associated with certain disorders and health problems.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person experiences pauses in breathing during sleep. The pause can last from several seconds to 30 seconds or even a full minute, and the pauses can occur as much as 30 times during one hour. Sleep apnea also refers to intervals of abnormally low breathing. A person suffering from sleep apnea is rarely aware of the problem and does not have any recollection of it even upon waking up. Usually, they find it out from a person they are sharing the bed with.
There are three types of sleep apnea- central, obstructive and mixed. Snoring is usually associated with this disorder and a person suffering from it can also experience daytime sleepiness or drowsiness.
Sleep apnea can be diagnosed by specialists through an overnight test called polysomnogram or sleep study.
Connection between sleep apnea and diabetes
The American Diabetes Association has recently performed a study which suggested that as much as 40% of people with sleep apnea also suffer from type 2 diabetes. This association recommends that people who are aware of having sleep apnea should be tested for type 2 diabetes, so they can start the treatment as soon as possible.
The link between these two health problems is very important, especially considering that for many years sleep apnea was a little known condition with not much research done upon it.
Connection between sleep apnea and memory loss
Some of the people who have sleep apnea have noticed problems with certain brain functions, like focus and memory. A certain degree of memory loss is observed in almost all patients who participated in studies on the subject. Given the nature of this particular sleep disorder, it is not difficult to understand why memory loss occurs.
In sleep apnea, person experiences intervals in which he or she is not breathing at all. Sometimes the pause in breathing can even last a full minute. This means that for one minute the brain is not getting any oxygen. Depriving the brain of oxygen is bound to leave consequences, memory loss included.
For this reason it is very important to find out if a person is suffering from sleep apnea. It is best to ask another person to check from time to time and to report in the morning if there were any abnormalities in the breathing pattern. A person can also undergo a sleep study, in which such abnormalities will be determined with certainty.
In case a person is diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are solutions for the problem. For example, there are devices that stimulate normal breathing patterns. Solving the problem of sleep apnea is important because it can prevent damage for the health and for proper mental functions.