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The Defination of Apnea

Apnea: "temporary absence or cessation of breathing." It is normal for people to experience brief pauses in breathing while asleep, it becomes life threatening when these pauses last 20 seconds or more in infancy.

Types of Apnea

Apnea has been classified into three types depending on whether inspiratory muscle activity is present.

Central Apnea: if inspiratory muscle activity fails following an exhalation. This typically occurs when the part of the brain which controls breathing fails to maintain breathing. Other than in premature infants, this is the least common type of apnea, and often has a neurological cause.

Obstructive Apnea: if inspiratory muscle activity is present without airflow. This is when the airway is literally obstructed. This may be caused by Laryngo Malicia, Trachomalica, or the Tonsils & Adenoids could be overweight. Gastroesophageal Reflux can cause obstructive apnea. Some signs of obstructive apnea are: stridor, snoring, gasping for air, sleeping in unusual positions and a change of color.

Mixed Apnea is when both central and obstructive apnea occur during the same episode. This is most often seen in infants and young children who have abnormal control of their breathing. This can happen while sleeping or awake.

Also See: Apnea and Your child.

What is Asthma?

Most people think that Asthma and Wheezing are the same thing, when infact wheezing is only one sign of Asthma. Other things than asthma can cause wheezing. A more accurate defination of Asthma is "Reactive Airway Disease (RAD)." People who have RAD have bronchial passages which are more sensitve than is normal, which leads to redness and swelling. This, inturn causes excessive mucous to be produced and a tightening of the airway muscles. Which then causes a narrowing of the airways. This can result in wheezing or in some cases simply a dry cough.

It is unknown why some people have asthma. It is often times inherited, and can also be triggered by allergies. Asthma can develop at any age. However when the onset is in childhood then, often it improves with age. Where as Adult Asthma aging actually makes the problem worse.

Signs of Asthma:

  • Coughing or "Bronchitis" with every cold.
  • Coughing (especially at night) which lingers for weeks.
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing during exercize or esposure to allergens.
  • Nightime waking with cough or shortness of breath.

Asthma Triggers:

  • Allergies
  • Weather changes (barometric pressure, humidity, and temperature).
  • Air pollution, smoke (cigarette, or wood), chemical or fuel vapors, fumes, or even perfumes and other scents.
  • Dust.
  • Heartburn (reflux esophagitis)
  • Exercise
  • Colds and other respiratory infections
  • Physical or emotional stress

Reflux can lead to asthma attacks. This typically happens at night, when laying flat allows acid to seep back into the esophagus and throat. If the acid leaks into the breathing passages, choking and wheezing result. If asthma attacks don't seem to be caused by colds, allergens, or other respiratory irritation, consider reflux. Talk to a doctor and watch for reflux symptoms.

Doctors believe as much as 30% of all asthma may be caused by reflux problems. Even if you have identified other specific triggers for the asthma attacks, try following heartburn prevention techniques for a few weeks to see if it leads to better control of asthma --- you may be surprised.

Also See:

Asthma and Gastroesophageal Reflux

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