Sleep Apnea & Treatment
The Basics of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA is the most commonly diagnosed form of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is when the airway completely closes or partially closes during sleep.
When air, rich in oxygen, is blocked from flowing into the lungs the oxygen cannot be transferred into the blood for use all around the body. Carbon dioxide levels begin to increase while the oxygen levels in blood begins to decrease.
The brain reacts to the low levels of oxygen in the blood and alerts the heart to start pumping faster to get more blood delivered. The reaction is brief, only 3-5 seconds but is enough time to interrupt sleep.
When this cycle occurs over and over throughout the night, the body becomes fatigued. Memory can become impaired, daytime sleepiness occurs and a variety of other commonly known symptoms may appear.
What is PAP (Positive Airway Pressure) Therapy
PAP or Positive Airway Pressure is typically the first choice of physicians and providers choosing to treat a patient with sleep apnea.
With use of a PAP machine, room air is pressurized and delivered to the patient through a hose and mask, helping to open and maintain an open airway while sleeping. By keeping the airway open, air flows as it should to the lungs, oxygen levels stay within normal ranges and the body can rest well while going through the sleep process as it should, without interruptions. Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) when routinely used can improve mood, energy levels and overall functions of daily living.
Why is it Important?
PAP (Positive Airway Pressure) therapy works with the body’s airway muscles during sleep. Depending on how severe a person’s obstructive sleep apnea is depends on the amount of help required. For some only a minimum amount of pressure is needed to keep everything open, for others higher pressures may be required to do the same. In either case, routine use of PAP therapy is an important tool for treating sleep apnea.
If diagnosed and left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can increase the risk for a variety of other health issues such as Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and difficulty with weight management.