What is Sleep Apnea? Symptoms, Treatment, and More

what is Sleep Apnea

 

The easiest way to define sleep apnea is that it’s a disorder that interrupts a person’s breathing when they are sleeping. A person that has sleep apnea that has not been treated will stop breathing throughout their sleep cycle. Depending on the severity of their sleep apnea symptoms, they could stop breathing hundreds of times in one evening.

If you’re here hoping that we’ll define sleep apnea, you can keep reading. This article will explain all you need to know from is sleep apnea hereditary to sleep apnea treatment. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea symptoms you should seek medical advice immediately. As we will discuss, obstructive sleep apnea can be life threatening so if you think you are dealing with any of the sleep apnea symptoms we’re about to discuss please consult your doctor.

 

What is Sleep Apnea: What are the types of Sleep Apnea?

Now that you understand the basics of what sleep apnea is let’s look at the types of sleep apnea – there are two of them.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. It is caused when there is a blockage in the airway. It usually happens when tissue in the back of your throat collapses while sleeping.

Central sleep apnea is less common and does not involve the airway being blocked. Instead, this form of sleep apnea involves the brain not signaling the muscles to breathe because of an issue in the respiratory control center.

 

Sleep apnea symptoms

So, how do you know if you have sleep apnea? Only a doctor can tell you that, but there are some things that you can look for. Some common signs includes:

  • Waking up with dry throat
  • Constant and/or loud snoring
  • Lack of energy and/or daytime sleepiness
  • Waking up with a headache
  • Restlessness during sleep
  • Mood changes and/or forgetfulness
  • Waking up frequently and/or insomnia

If your doctor suspects you have sleep apnea a sleep study will be required to properly diagnose you and ensure you receive the proper sleep apnea treatment.

 

Who is at risk?

You might be wondering, is sleep apnea hereditary? It can run in families and it’s more likely that you will have it if someone in your family does. If it’s not hereditary, who is more likely to get sleep apnea? Here are some commonalities found in people that have sleep apnea:

  • Men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women
  • Being overweight
  • Over 40-years-old
  • Having a larger than average tongue, a smaller jaw bone, or larger tonsils
  • Having Gastroesophageal reflux
  • A nasal obstruction, allergies, or abnormal sinus problems

 

What if Sleep Apnea goes Untreated?

Sleep apnea treatment is necessary if you’re exhibiting symptoms. If you do not seek treatment for your sleep apnea you may face any number of unwanted health problems. Among them, you may experience high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, stroke, severe ADHD, headaches, or in extreme cases heart failure or even heart attacks. You may also find that your interest in daily activities suffer as a result in your inability to get a good night’s rest.

 

Sleep Apnea Treatment

The good news is that you can treat sleep apnea at home with some basic lifestyle changes and some sleep apnea devices that will put an end to your breathing troubles while sleeping. The lifestyle changes may include losing weight, stopping sleeping pills, or quitting smoking. The doctor might also suggest that you change sleeping positions to ease the issues you face while asleep.

Most people require sleep apnea devices known as a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). The CPAP is a machine that hooks to a sleep apnea mouthpiece. You wear the sleep apnea mask over your nose and/or mouth and the machine helps you to breathe while you’re sleeping. The continuous air flow that passes through the sleep apnea mouth guard ensures that you do not stop breathing. Some people require air to flow in and out of the sleep apnea mouthpiece, if that is the case, they will use a BPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure) to move air in and out to help you breathe while sleeping.

Hopefully that helps you to understand what sleep apnea is, how it is diagnosed, and how sleep apnea is treated. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.

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