Sleep apnea is a very common sleeping disorder that disrupts the normal sleeping cycle. It is defined as a condition that causes breathing abnormalities such as low breathing or pauses in breaths during sleep. Reportedly, some that experience sleep apnea experience hundreds of breathing pauses per sleep cycle. In some cases this condition is due to a restriction of the air passageway. In others, the condition is caused by a failing of the respiratory system. Symptoms of sleep apnea include violent snoring and sudden breathless wakings.
Certain illnesses and diseases are attributed to sleep apnea such as: high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes and heart disease. In addition, it is noted that persons suffering from sleep apnea are at higher risk of causing automobile accidents. These illnesses are possibilities when the condition has gone undiagnosed or untreated over a long period of time.
Testing for sleep apnea is offered through various sleep clinics as well as through the recommendation of a personal physician. Since there are different forms of sleep apnea, there are different possible methods of treating it. Some are over the counter or prescription sleeping aids, breathing tubes or apparatus, while with more serious forms of sleep apnea, surgery is recommended.
The condition of sleep apnea is not limited to adults. Children may also suffer from a form of the illness. Consultation with a pediatrician is the best option if one suspects their child has sleep apnea. There are also organizations and support groups available online that have illustrations and videos of the normal sleep pattern in comparison with one of a person suffering from sleep apnea. They also have informal test questions available for those as yet undiagnosed to help them determine whether or not to seek the advice of a doctor. These groups offer resources for those who wish to have a better understanding of the illness and the various treatments available for it.