Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a disorder of breathing during sleep. Typically it is accompanied by loud snoring. Apnea during sleep consists of brief periods throughout the night in which breathing stops. People with sleep apnea do not get enough oxygen during sleep.

There are 2 major types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is characterized by repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction that occur during sleep, usually associated with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation. In other words, the airway becomes obstructed at several possible sites. The upper airway can be obstructed by excess tissue in the airway, large tonsils, a large tongue and usually includes the airway muscles relaxing and collapsing when asleep. Another site of obstruction can be the nasal passages. Sometimes the structure of the jaw and airway can be a factor in sleep apnea.

Central Sleep Apnea is characterized by the cessation of breath due to a lack of effort in breathing during sleep. Central Sleep Apnea is not as common as OSA and is more difficult to diagnose. Typically it is do to some neuromuscular problem but other sources could be the cause

Snoring and sleep apnea

You probably know at least one person who snores.It could be your bed partner, your parents, and grand parents, even Uncle Ned or Aunt Sophie who may snore at various sound levels.Some laugh and make jokes about it, but it can be a symptom of a serious disorder called obstructive sleep apnea.And if it is obstructive sleep apnea, then it is no laughing matter, and that individual needs to get evaluated by a sleep specialist.

Snoring is a loud sound that a person makes as they breathe during sleep while sleep apnea is a true breathing obstruction, which requires the sleeper to awaken to begin breathing again. A person with sleep apnea wakes up many times a night to regain breathing, but usually remembers nothing at all about the awakenings. The sleep partner of a person with sleep apnea remembers a great deal about the awakenings and is generally a good witness of the incidents.
Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, a result of the obstruction, and sometimes even a cause of sleep apnea. Snoring by itself does not involve the cessation of breathing.

Who Gets Sleep Apnea?

Following are the signs if one see in him/her can have sleeping apnea disorder.

1- Regular snoring and so loudly that someone are awakened by it.

2- Waking up abruptly, often choking or gasping for air

3- Feeling extremely sleepy at daytime even if you’re doing something, you have a hard time staying awake to finish it

4- Have dry mouth, headaches, sore throat once you wake up in the morning
The more serious health problems from sleep apnea that can result from reduced oxygen going to the brain are

  • Restless sleep, insomnia
  • Premature death
  • Type II Diabetes. Mild sleep apnea is associated with increased glucose intolerance and Insulin resistance, conditions that lead to diabetes.
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Hypercapnia, or excessive carbon dioxide levels
  • Right-sided heart failure
  • Arrhythymia, or abnormal heart rhythm (irregular heart beat)
  • Memory impairment, learning difficulties, and lack of attention
  • Rapid weight gain and obesity. Sleep apnea disturbs rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, a disruption that increases the risk for obesity
  • Impotence, sexual dysfunction, or reduced libido
  • Morning headaches
  • Depression
  • Sevenfold increase in involvement in auto accidents
  • Sudden infant death syndrome may be a result of sleep apnea in the infant


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