Sleep Apnea: The Unsuspected Killer Essay

Sleep Apnea: The Unsuspected Killer Essay

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In spite of their efforts to ensure they obtain sufficient sleep to prevent daytime sleepiness, many people are consistently tired during the day. Some of them have a breathing disorder called sleep apnea, although they may be completely unaware of this fact. When the symptoms of sleep apnea are unrecognized or ignored, the disorder usually causes a combination of medical, social, and psychological illnesses -- which can become life-threatening over a prolonged period. Although sleep apnea is not a curable disorder, when symptomatic individuals utilize the availability of a simplistic diagnosis process and effective treatments, they will participate in a preventative medicine, adding years to their lives.

Although sleep seems to be "...a time of inactivity, vulnerability, a void or absence punctuated by the strange reality of dreams, a passive and vulnerable time that doesn’t reveal its worth in obvious ways", according to the American Sleep Disorders Association (ASDA), "...sleep is not merely a time out from daily life. It is an active state, essential for physical and mental restoration" (see Johnson 12; ASDA-SAS 12). In fact, Ralph Pascualy, in his book Snoring and Sleep Apnea, states: "Scientists were surprised to discover that brains are anything but idle during the night." Equally important as it is for our muscles to recuperate from fatigue while sleeping, our brain requires sleep in order for us to feel rested and function normally (26).

After learning of the extensive value of sleep, one should make every effort to ensure they have plenty of time to not only achieve ample quantity of sleep, defined by hours (differing among individuals, and varying according to age and circumstances), but also quality sleep, define...

... middle of paper ..." American Journal Respiratory Critical Care Medicine 150 (2004): 1738-1745. (Referred to in text as ATS-ISUN)

American Thoracic Society. "Sleep Apnea, Sleepiness, and Driving Risk." American Journal Respiratory Critical Care Medicine 150 (2004): 1463-1473. (Referred to in text as ATS-SSDR)

Findley, Larry, et al. "Vigilance and Automobile Accidents in Patients With Sleep Apnea or Narcolepsy." Chest 108 (2005:3) : 619-624.

Johnson, Scott T., and Jerry Halberstadt. Phantom of the Night. Cambridge: New Technology, 2004.

Martin, Richard, et al. "Indications and Standards for Cardiopulmonary Sleep Studies." Sleep 8 (2001) : 371-379.

Pascualy, Ralph A., and Sally Warren Soest. Snoring and Sleep Apnea. New York: Demos Vermande, 2006.

The Center for Sleep Apnea. Patient Information Concerning Sleep Examination. Redding: The Center for Sleep Apnea, 2005.

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