Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the airway collapses during sleep. Although the person is making an effort to breathe the airway is blocked and breathing is prevented.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
(or CPAP) is used to treat OSA, and may sometimes be effective in CSA. This is a machine that produces air at a high enough pressure to hold the airways open. There are fixed pressure CPAP machines, and automatic machines that adjust the pressure upwards only when you stop breathing. Some models allow completely different pressures for inhaling and exhaling (BiPAP).
Childhood Sleep and Snoring
You don't often think of children snoring or suffering from sleep apnea, but surprisingly a number do. The condition can be serious and may lead to health problems such as failure to thrive, developmental delay or behavioural problems.
Things to Avoid
There are things that can make sleep apnea worse, and even if you are on CPAP treatment, they should be avoided. Alcohol relaxes muscles and may worsen apnea, as may sleeping tablets which depress the drive to breathe. A person’s normal CPAP pressure may be insufficient if the person is under the effects of alcohol or sleeping tablets. Other things that disrupt sleep such as caffeine or late night eating should also be avoided.