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Apnea Powered By Docstoc
					Apnea means suspension of breathing, which is either voluntary or involuntary, that is
caused by drugs or some external reason like strangulation, or trauma. During apnea
the respiratory muscles do not function, and the volume of the lungs remains
unchanged. As body cannot store oxygen, a minute of apnea causes much decline of
oxygen in the blood. Apnea that lasts for about three minutes can damage the brain. If
the stage continues it can result in death. Only in special conditions like apneic
oxygenation or hypothermia can life be sustained longer in the event of an apnea.
Without proper training more than two minutes of apnea causes carbon dioxide in the
blood to rise and PH level to drop, causing damage to the brain.

Apneist is the name given to a person who can stop breathing for longer periods, and
expert divers who practice holding breath can remain in the state of apnea up to nine
minutes under water. Mammals under water can hold their breath a little longer owing
to a survival phenomenon known as mammalian diving reflex. Voluntary
hyperventilation causes the carbon dioxide in the blood to rise, due to which the
respiratory centre is not stimulated in time and breathlessness is not felt. Divers use
hyperventilation to hold their breath for longer time in water owing to this factor. It is
however dangerous because before they breathe the blood has lost all oxygen, causing
unconsciousness. Blackout under water can cause serious accidents and drowning.

Apneic oxygenation is exchange of gases between lungs and blood that continues
even during the state of apnea. It is a phenomenon in which the level of oxygen
absorbed is more than carbon dioxide released, and the lungs collapse. If pure oxygen
is breathed in before apnea the individual can survive up to an hour in that state and
the technique can be used in case of emergencies. Respiratory acidosis is a condition
that can occur due to accumulation of carbon dioxide in the body tissues in course of
apneic oxygenation. Brain death is a condition in which an individual is unable to
breathe without life support systems.

When there is cessation of breath during sleep the condition is known as sleep apnea.
It occurs because the level of oxygen in blood decreases on account of some blocks in
the air passage through mouth or nose, due to the tongue or uvula, structure of the jaw,
swelling or relaxing of certain muscles etc. Pause that lasts up to 10 second can be
considered apnea, if it repeats through out the night. Patients of sleep apnea suffer
from daytime sleepiness and confusions that result from lack of proper rest. Their
work and relations suffer due the irritability, lethargy and lack of concentration that
set in as a result of prolonged periods of sleeplessness. Snoring is a common feature
among the patients of this ailment and during the apnea there is a pause in snoring,
which resumes once the individual gasps for breath and starts respiration.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs during the night in the form of cessation of breath
Central sleep apnea occurs when the nerves are not strong enough to control the
respiratory system due to use of central respiratory depressants like alcohol and other
sedatives. It can be dangerous for someone who already suffers from sleep apnea to
use a central respiratory depressant. Central sleep apnea is also seen in infants,
particularly those who are born prematurely. Complex sleep apnea is the combination
of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.