In this article, we’ll go over what happens during an episode of sleep apnea and how treatment options can help prevent or reduce its severity. I will also talk about why it’s important to get tested for sleep apnea if you’re experiencing frequent interruptions in your breathing pattern at night (or even during the day). So let us find out in which ways sleep apnea affects you and how to treat it.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a chronic breathing disorder that causes you to stop breathing for short periods of time, often several times during the night. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), sleep apnea affects around 24 million Americans, but only one in five people diagnosed with it seek treatment.
Apnea is a Greek word that means “without breath.” It’s a common breathing disorder that causes you to stop and start breathing while asleep. This happens when one of the muscles controlling breathing relaxes for too long during sleep and closes off the windpipe (the tube through which air passes into and out of your lungs).
The muscle may relax when it receives signals from another part of the nervous system that tells it there isn’t enough carbon dioxide (CO2) in your blood and needs to breathe again quickly. CO2 is a gas produced by cells as part of metabolism, your body’s chemical processes for turning food into energy.
The brain doesn’t tell these muscles to relax all at once; rather, it sends messages that gradually decrease their activity until they stop working altogether. Then they get stuck there until another message comes along telling them to wake up again!
This can happen 30 times or more each hour, reducing the amount of oxygen in your blood, which can interfere with how your body functions.
Different Types Of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can cause you to wake up during the night, and it can also make you feel tired during the day. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
There are different types of sleep apnea (SA): obstructive (OSA), central (CSA) and mixed (MSA).
OSA occurs when your airway collapses when you’re sleeping. CSA happens when your brain doesn’t send enough signals for muscles in the throat to keep breathing. MSA has elements of both OSA and CSA. OSA is most common in adults but not limited just them — any age group can develop it!
Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
It’s important to know that snoring can be more than just a nuisance. A loud snoring sound is the most obvious symptom of sleep apnea, but there are others. Including daytime sleepiness, bad breath, morning headaches and a poor quality of sleep—that may indicate you have it. While you might think “it’s just snoring” when your partner stops talking mid-conversation or stops sharing their bed with you at night because they can’t stand your nightly symphony of sounds anymore, it could be something more serious than that.
If you’re a snorer and not sure if it’s just a bad habit or something more serious, here are some things to consider:
1. Snoring isn’t just a nuisance—it could be sign of sleep apnea.
2. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes pauses in breathing during sleep; this can lead to daytime fatigue and other health problems.
3. There are many causes for this condition, including obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption.
4. Talk to your doctor about getting tested If you think you might be suffering from it.
You may be suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea if you’ve been told that your poor sleep habits are the cause of your daytime fatigue. In some cases, you may even be misdiagnosed as having something like insomnia or another type of sleep disorder.
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed because you can easily confuse it with other conditions that cause excessive snoring or nighttime breathing problems. Such as chronic nasal congestion and sinusitis. If you find yourself experiencing frequent instances of insomnia or daytime drowsiness, it’s important to see a doctor to get tested for this condition. Do it before assuming that these symptoms are caused by other factors. Those factors being unrelated to oxygen deprivation during sleep (such as depression).
It Is A Serious Health Condition
Sleep apnea is associated with serious health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease. In fact, one study found that men who had this condition were more likely to die from a stroke or heart attack than those without it.
It also causes cognitive problems such as memory loss and depression. In fact, researchers have found a link between sleep apnea and dementia in elderly patients.
It is a serious condition that can lead to significant health problems, such as you developing type 2 diabetes. If you are experiencing symptoms, it’s important to talk with your doctor about treatment options.
How To Treat Sleep Apnea?
In many cases, lifestyle changes can alleviate or reduce symptoms of sleep apnea. Many patients choose to lose weight by eliminating sugary foods and increasing exercise. Some doctors recommend that you stop smoking and avoid alcohol before bedtime. If you are a side sleeper, it is best to switch to sleeping on your back. This position helps prevent airway obstruction in many patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Stress management techniques like meditation can also help people who have OSA fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer without waking up gasping for breath.
If lifestyle changes don’t help, then it might be time for you to consult with a sleep specialist. A sleep study can determine if you have OSA and what treatment options are best for you. Treatment options include using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which is the most effective treatment for OSA. Other treatments include dental appliances that reposition the lower jaw forward during sleep. Even surgery to remove excess tissue from around your throat.
Tools & Surgeries For Treating Sleep Apnea
If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to treat sleep apnea, the following devices and surgeries can help you:
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. These devices help keep your airway open by blowing a constant stream of air into your throat while you sleep. The noise is usually drowned out by the sound of your snoring and doesn’t disturb anyone else in the room.
- Mandibular advancement device (MAD). This dental device moves your lower jaw forward to open up breathing passages during sleep. You might need a dental exam before getting one of these devices made for you.
- Surgery options that may help you include: uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), pharyngeal flap surgery, tonsillectomy and tongue reduction surgery
I hope this article helped you better understand sleep apnea and its treatments. It’s important to know the signs of this condition so that you can seek treatment if necessary. As it is serious health issue, if you think you have symptoms of sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about it today.