There is an association with snoring and sleep apnea because it is the same muscles that are involved. Snoring is not as serious as apnea, except when the snorer's partner gets tired of snoring over the head with the alarm clock, whether or not snores or apnea tigers are likely to be aware of their condition.
It is the muscles of the upper respiratory tract that are not as strong as they should be which causes the airway to narrow and close temporarily. This causes respiratory arrest for 10 to 25 minutes, which leads to the reduction of oxygen to the brain.
The brain then sends out an emergency signal waking the person who forces a gasp of air to balance the oxygen debt. The suffering does not necessarily wake up completely and these events may happen 300 or more times in one session.
Although the apnea dancer may not be aware of the evening events, they may recognize symptoms like waking up with a dry throat and mouth in the morning, headache and sweating.
The muscles of the larynx that lack muscle tone and are the core of the problem may be for one of two reasons.
It may be that the physiological makeup predisposes the individual to the condition or it may be a problem that has been developed due to the patient's lifestyle or it may be a combination of both.
So physiologically, anyone who has a mild abnormality in the facial structure that affects the passage of the air is sensitive to the condition. This may mean a backset jaw or what is usually called overbite, the shape of the hard gum, large tonsils, adenoids and tongue, any intrinsic nasal blockage as well as the general size and shape of the middle of the face and neck.
From a lifestyle point of view, obesity is the most important factor associated with apnea deaths followed by alcohol consumption and smoking. The three big nuns are punishable again - not surprisingly really.
People with a body index (BMI) of 30 or more are considered to be obese and more prone to sleep apnea and if the weight distribution is centered around the waist as opposed to the hips the risk is greater.
Alcohol can reduce upper respiratory activity and relax the muscles responsible for stopping airways from closing. In extreme cases excessive and continuous drinking may suppress breathing reflexes. This respiratory drive can also be affected by so-called sleep pills, tranquilizers and short-acting beta blockers.
For mild to severe cases of apnea, it is widely accepted that the use of a continuous positive airway pressure device is the best treatment for the serious consequences of sleep apnea.
As the name suggests, it is a machine that generates time-pressured air pressure through a mask that keeps the upper airway open during sleep.
It does not cure that suffering, but allows the individual to get the huge benefits that make those who sleep properly. This means that he or she (more likely to be a male) will not be exposed to conditions such as hypertension (CPAP), myocardial infarction, stroke and memory and intellect.
In mild cases lifestyle changes can be made to temper or even cure the problem so that weight loss and a healthy diet with regular exercise are recommended. Cutting down on alcohol, especially before bed and quitting smoking, is always a good idea. Look at what kind of drugs are used especially sedatives.
If possible, sleep on the page instead of the back can help.
If the problem is with the jaw structure, it is possible to get a device that fits out and feels like a sports watch called a Mandibular Progressive Unit (MAD). This allows the lower jaw to pull and hold in a more forward position. It is used to treat apnea, snoring and bruxism (lighter grinding).
There are also some more unusual techniques that are worth trying, especially since they proved to be affective in some cases and are not invasive, as is the case with CPAP machines.
Respiratory technicians have been studied and developed that can infiltrate in someone breathing pattern that comes from the stomach instead of short breaths made from the chest. This process helps to tone the muscles of the respiratory tract.
How about singing? It seems logical that anything that strengthens relevant muscles will be affective in the treatment of apnea and although it has been shown that there is a positive link between singers, singing and absence of apnea, opinions are still shared.
Sleep apnea can be very serious and rarely fatal. It is more common than asthma or diabetes and it is increasingly in the western world that can be a link to lifestyles.
The most effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is the CPAP, which many feel discomforted. Any evidence, even anecdotal of solutions to this increasing problem, would be welcomed by a large number of victims.