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An Overview of Sleep Apnea

13 Sep

Cardiac Monitoring Services,  provides cardiograph equipment to more than 4,000 doctors’ offices throughout the United States. Offering both equipment and results analysis to physicians, the company facilitates more than 12,000 diagnostic tests each year. Equipment available through Cardiac Monitoring Services, includes the Holter monitor, which provides continuous recording of cardiovascular activities. Patients can wear the Holter monitor for up to seven days, and its data can indicate a number of conditions, including sleep apnea.

A sleep disorder marked by pauses in breathing, sleep apnea occurs in two distinct types. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form, typically occurring when soft tissue collapses at the back of the throat, blocking the airway. On the other hand, central sleep apnea does not involve a physical blockage in the airway. Instead, it is caused by the brain’s failure to signal muscles that are crucial to the breathing process.

Males and individuals who are overweight are more likely to experience sleep apnea. Additional risk factors include being over 40 years of age, having a large tongue or tonsils, and having gastroesophageal reflux disease. Nasal obstruction caused by allergies or a deviated septum may also trigger the disorder.

When undiagnosed or untreated, sleep apnea may decrease an individual’s ability to focus on tasks at work or school, due to its effect on sleep quality. Sleep apnea may also cause such serious health conditions as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure.

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