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Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea (apnea is a Greek word means “without Breath”) is a potentially serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep. If not treated, Sleep Apnea will lead to serious health complications.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Below are the common symptoms of Sleep Apnea:

  • Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA)
  • Morning headache
  • Observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep
  • Excessive daytime fatigue and sleepiness(hypersomnia)
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Difficulty staying asleep at night(insomnia)
  • Difficulty concentrating, depression, irritability, sexual dysfunction, learning and memory difficulties
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom (Nocturia)

If your answer is YES to any to the above, you may be suffering from Sleep Apnea!!

Click here for our Online Sleep Apnea Test to see if you may be suffering from potentially dangerous sleep disorder.

Cause of Sleep Apnea

  • The most common cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is obesity. Having a large neck (men: greater than 16.5 inches around, women: greater than 15 inches around) increases your risk for OSA, as it collapses the airway. However, not everyone who has Sleep Apnea is overweight. Thin people develop the disorder, too.
  • Your throat muscles and tongue relax more than normal.
  • Your tongue and tonsils (tissue masses in the back of your mouth) are large compared to the opening into your windpipe.
  • The shape of your head and neck (bony structure) may cause a smaller airway size in the mouth and throat area.
  • The aging process limits the ability of brain signals to keep your throat muscles stiff during sleep.
  • If you have family members with Sleep Apnea, you may be at increased risk.
  • Due to intake of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers, these substances relax the muscles in your throat which result in Sleep Apnea.
  • Smokers are three times more likely to have Obstructive Sleep Apnea than are people who've never smoked. Smoking may increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.

 

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two types of sleep apnea: Obstructive and Central. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the more common of the two. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.

The drawing below shows the airway of a healthy individual and an OSA patient. During sleep, the OSA patient's upper airway is obstructed, so with obstructed breathing oxygen level in the blood goes down, which triggers the brain response to wake up to breath normally.

Patient’s throat muscles respond to brain's messages to wake up to begin breathing again your blood oxygen levels return to normal, and then you fall back asleep. These awakenings are very brief and often are not remembered unless you wake up choking.

 

Symptoms of OSA may include snoring, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, restlessness during sleep, gasping for air while sleeping and trouble concentrating.

In Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to tell the body to breathe. This type is called Central Apnea because it is related to the function of the central nervous system for which patient needs to go different treatment. Those with CSA may have gasping for air but mostly report recurrent awakenings during night.

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

Sleep Apnea is a considered a serious medical condition, it may lead to serious health complication like:

 

High blood pressure & Heart problems: Due to Sleep Apnea sudden drops in blood oxygen level increases blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. Every time a patient stops breathing during the night, the amount of oxygen in the blood decreases, which means the cells in the body are not getting the oxygen they need. Heart rate increases in an effort to raise oxygen levels in the blood and deliver oxygen to cells. When this happens repeatedly throughout the night, it increases the stress on your circulatory system and creates a serious medical condition.

 Sleep Apnea is not uncommon in people with hypertension. If you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) is greater than if you don't. The more severe your sleep apnea, the greater the risk of high blood pressure.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) increases the risk of stroke, regardless of whether or not you have high blood pressure. If there's underlying heart disease, these multiple episodes of low blood oxygen (hypoxia or hypoxemia) can lead to sudden death from a cardiac event.

OSA is also strongly correlated with the following cardiovascular conditions:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Cardiac arrhythmias

 

Headache: Sleep Apnea can cause morning headache, memory problem, mood swing, and feelings of depression.

Daytime fatigue: Daytime drowsiness, fatigue, and irritability are common complications related to Sleep Apnea due to disturbed sleep.

Complication with medication and surgery: OSA may also cause a concern with certain medication and surgery procedures.

Impotency: Sleep Apnea may cause erectile dysfunction. Hormone levels and blood vessels are affected by the reduction in oxygen in the blood caused by Sleep Apnea.

Sleep-deprived partner: Loud snoring (Snoring should be as a regular text, does not have hyperlink) can keep those around you from getting good rest and eventually disrupt sleep of your partner.

 

Click here for our Online Sleep Apnea Test to see if you may be suffering from potentially dangerous sleep disorder to avoid other chronic health conditions.