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Sleep Apnea Essay

1174 words - 5 pages

Sleep, why do people sleep at all? Why can't we just stay awake?Some biologist suggest that sleep provides the opportunity to conductself-repair and purge the body of it's waste that has built up duringthe day's activity. Nevertheless, the body is capable of repairingitself and disposing of wastes during waking hours, so sleep in a wayreally isn't necessary for routine maintenance (e.g., urinating, etc.).Dr. Quentin Regestein, lead sleep and sleep disorders researcher atHarvard Medical School also believed that sleep kept our distant ancestorsout of harms way during the night when they could not see as well astheir night roaming predators.Sleep is regulated by a connected series of structures in thedeep midline areas, and along other way stations that extend throughthe central axis of the brain, these structures relay information aboutthings that affect sleep. In Dr. Regestein notes, he spoke of experimentsthat were performed by researchers. The researchers he spoke of woulddestroy specific brain structures of a lab animal and then note howthe animal slept. For instances, in one lab animal the researchercut through the axis of the brain at one level, which would preventedthe animal from awakening; showing that brain structures below thelevel of the cut were responsible for awakening the lab animal.The American Sleep Disorders Association (ASDA), Association forthePsychophysiological Study of Sleep (APSS), Association of Sleep DisorderCenters (ASDC), and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) hasstudied sleep and sleep disorders since the early 1970's. Out of allthe sleep disorders currently being studied, sleep apnea has gain worldwide attention, affecting over 15 million people. Apnea, derived fromthe Greek word 'want to breath.' Sleep Apnea (cessation of air flowat the mouth for greater than 10 seconds) can reflect1loss of central nervous system drive to maintain ventilation,2mechanical upper airway obstruction, or combinations of both. Thesecond edition of Anesthesia and Co-Existing Disease states 'Conversely,obstructive forms of sleep apnea are due to an abnormal relaxationof the posterior pharyngeal muscles' - there is persistence of respiratorymovements, but airflow is absent due to upper airway obstruction. Studyshows awakening occurs when the arterial partial pressure of carbondioxide rise or oxygen falls. Severe apnea, which affects about 1percent of the general adult population, often results in 400-500 awakeningsa night. Moreover, depending on the severity and the number of episodesof sleep apnea, the patient's daily life and survival can be greatlyendangered. According to the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, over aneight-year period, a 37 percent death rate has been reported amongpersons with apnea (20 episodes or more perhour). The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study also reported sleep apnea ismore likely to occur in men then women, for the male hormone, testosteroneis believed to be related to sleep apnea. Admittedly, researchersbelieve...

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