Sleep apnea is caused by two distinct problems. In the first rare form, the brain does not relay the message to breathe. This is called central apnea and is caused by an excessive loss of muscle tone following a neurological problem in the brain. This form of sleep apnea is related to narcolepsy (an extreme condition of excessive daytime sleepiness coupled with the sudden loss of voluntary muscle tone, vivid hallucinations during sleep, or brief episodes of total paralysis at the beginning or end of sleep).
The second, more common form is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Like snoring, OSA is caused by an obstruction in the airway, anywhere from the tip of the nose to the back of the throat, including a septal deviation, sinus inflammation, nasal polyps, enlarged tonsils, an enlarged base of tongue, and/or a floppy palate. Those with OSA may be deprived of oxygen for as much as one third of their night’s sleep. However, the effects of OSA are mainly felt during the waking hours, when patients are fatigued.
OSA is a chronic progressive disorder that cannot be cured but can be effectively treated. In the United States alone, nearly 30 million people are affected by OSA. Yet, only 8 - 10 percent of OSA sufferers have been diagnosed and treated. OSA affects approximately 5 percent of men over 50, which is as common as adult asthma. OSA is often misdiagnosed as either attention deficit disorder (ADD) or chronic fatigue syndrome and is one of the leading causes of work - and driving-related
accidents. Children can also suffer from OSA, and I believe that many children diagnosed as ADD really suffer from OSA. These children can be cranky; perform poorly in school; and experience night walking, loud snoring, and bedwetting.
You might be inclined to forego treatment for your sleep apnea, and learn to live with your fatigue. However, this line of thinking is dangerous for any aspect of CAID and especially for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea puts an incredible strain on the heart and lungs. Studies have suggested that the OSA syndrome may be an important risk factor for high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. In a groundbreaking study, it was revealed that an increased severity of sleep apnea was associated with an increased risk of the development of stroke or death from any cause, meaning that it has a compounding property in relation to age, sex, weight, stress, and other recognizable risk factors. Furthermore, there are strong comorbidity correlations between OSA and hypertension (40-50 percent), congestive heart failure (34 percent), pulmonary disease (11 percent), coronary artery disease (34 percent), fibromyalgia (80 percent), diabetes (65 percent), end-stage kidney disease (50 percent), and even erectile dysfunction (50 percent).