What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common but dangerous disorder where someone does not get a restful sleep at night due to his or her breathing stopping throughout the night. The pauses of sleep can range anywhere from ten seconds to even a few minutes at a time and thus puts them at risk to serious health risks. CPAP machines and therapy is an effective treatment for the condition, it will use a breathing machine to push additional oxygen into your system to prevent you from stopping breathing.
Various types of sleep apnea
There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed.
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of breathing disorder that affects sleep pattern severely. It happens when the patient’s upper throat muscles are very relaxed and do not allow the airway to open properly while sleeping. This results in complete or sometimes partial blockage of airflow to the lungs subsequently making breathing very difficult. The air that squeezes through the blockage during this time creates loud snoring sounds.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA): Central sleep apnea (CSA) happens when the patient repeatedly stops breathing during sleep. This is because the brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles controlling breathing patterns. CSA sufferers usually struggle with many medical illnesses, like heart failure, stroke, kidney disorders etc. CSA causes fatigue, daytime sleepiness, headaches, poor memory, and anxiety.
- Mixed sleep apnea: It is generally a combination of the two types of disorders mentioned above.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Typically, you don’t know you have sleep apnea until someone notices you snoring loudly or you start to feel fatigued throughout the day. Most people will ignore the symptoms as them just not getting a good night sleep but when you find yourself falling asleep while driving or working you should not ignore those symptoms and go to a doctor right away.
The common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Interruption in breathing during sleep
- Constant loud snoring, followed by periods of silence
- Excessive daytime drowsiness
- Abrupt shortness of breath
- Severe headaches & increased blood pressure
- Lesser concentration levels
- Getting up with dry mouth or a sore throat
To treat this condition effectively, it is essential to consult a good sleep disorder clinic and a doctor before starting the CPAP therapy.