The most common sleep disorders include insomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can cause major health problems, mainly due to the loss of oxygen in the blood. When a person is diagnosed with sleep apnea, they stop breathing several times a night while they are sleeping. This often causes them to jerk awake when their body begins to breathe again. People who have sleep apnea can stop breathing a hundred or more times each night. This can have a dramatic effect on how the person's body functions during the day. The lack of sufficient oxygen can cause fatigue, migraines, and many other health issues that are difficult to treat if oxygen levels remain low.
Sleep apnea can be treated in several ways. If a patient is overweight, the doctor may recommend losing weight to take some pressure off of their diaphragm. They may also prescribe the use of a CPAP machine to help the patient maintain a regular breathing pattern while they sleep. CPAP stands for continuous positive air pressure. A mask is worn over the nose and mouth that applies a constant flow of air that forces the person to maintain a regular breathing pattern. In addition to a CPAP machine, there are also implants that stimulate the nerves in the body to maintain a constant breathing pattern.
One of the main indicators of a sleeping disorder is snoring. If a person snores loudly and sounds as if they have a lapse in their breathing pattern, it is possible they have sleep apnea. Individuals who wake up and feel as if they haven't slept at all or experience fatigue throughout the day may have a sleep disorder. Lack of concentration, inability to focus, muscle fatigue, depressed immune system, and recurring headaches that are present when a person wakes up but go away as they begin to move around are possible signs that sleep apnea may be causing a loss of oxygen to the brain.
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