Sleep Apnea

Definition - What does Sleep Apnea mean?

Sleep apnea refers to when a person's deep sleep is interrupted by lapses in breathing. Some of these lapses only last a few seconds where as others can last a minute. The most usual cases are called obstructive sleep apnea. In this event the airway collapses or it can become blocked. It is not unusual for this person to be a heavy snorer, and if the individual sleeps with a partner, that person can hear the interruptions. There is also a more serious form of the illness called central sleep apnea. In this instance the brain is not sending the correct messages to make the person breathe. This can be a result of certain illnesses and also of certain medications the person is taking. It is much rarer than obstructive sleep apnea.

WorkplaceTesting explains Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious workplace concern because sufferers can feel like they have not slept at all and are frequently tired at work. They might have difficulty concentrating on difficult and even commonplace tasks. Because of this, those with sleep apnea can be at much higher risk of on the job injury.

One risk factor for developing sleep apnea is excess weight, although that is far from the only contributing factor to the condition. Long-term sleep apnea sufferers are at higher risk for stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure.


Sleep apnea is usually diagnosed through a sleep study if your regular physician suspects the condition. During this study technicians will record the number of times the patient stops breathing and the lengths of times it occurs. If diagnosed, the patient will likely begin wearing an instrument called a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) when sleeping. A CPAP uses gentle air pressure to ensure the patient breathes at regular intervals and is not disturbed during a good night’s sleep. However, some types of sleep apnea require more invasive measures of treatment.

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