What Is Sleep Apnea And Do I Have It



Sleep apnea, also referred to​ as​ sleep apnoea, is​ a​ common sleep disorder. It's characterized by brief interruptions of​ breathing during sleep. These episodes, called apneas, last 10 seconds or​ more and occur repeatedly throughout the night. People with sleep apnea partially awaken as​ they struggle to​ breathe, but in​ the morning they may not be aware of​ the disturbances in​ their sleep.

The most common type of​ sleep apnea is​ obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), caused by relaxation of​ soft tissue in​ the back of​ the throat that blocks the passage of​ air. Central sleep apnea (CSA) is​ caused by irregularities in​ the brain’s normal signals to​ breathe. Some people with sleep apnea have a​ combination of​ both types.

OSA is​ more common in​ men than women and in​ people who are overweight or​ obese. Here are some symptoms to​ look for if​ you suspect you are suffering from this disorder.

* Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
* Restless Sleep
* Loud Snoring (With Periods of​ Silence Followed By Gasps)
* Falling Asleep During The Day
* Morning Headaches
* Trouble Concentrating
* Irritability
* Forgetfulness
* Mood or​ Behavior Changes
* Weight Gain
* Increased Heart Rate
* Anxiety
* Depression

Most people with sleep apnea have obstructive apnea "OSA", in​ which the person stops breathing during sleep due to​ airway blockage. Breathing is​ resumed within a​ few seconds, but periods of​ as​ long as​ sixty seconds are not uncommon in​ serious cases.

OSA is​ more common amongst people who snore, who are obese, who consume alcohol, or​ who have anatomical abnormalities of​ the jaw or​ soft palate. However, atypical cases do occur, and the condition should not be ruled out unilaterally merely because the patient does not fit the profile.

"OSA" is​ caused by the relaxation of​ the muscles in​ the airway during sleep. Whilst the vast majority of​ people successfully maintain an​ open upper airway and breathe normally during sleep, a​ significant number of​ individuals are prone to​ severe narrowing or​ occlusion of​ the pharynx, such that breathing is​ impeded or​ even completely obstructed. as​ the brain senses a​ build-up of​ carbon dioxide, airway muscles are activated which open the airway, allowing breathing to​ resume but interrupting deep sleep.

The prognosis is​ that sleep apnea left untreated can be life threatening. Excessive daytime sleepiness can cause people to​ fall asleep at​ inappropriate times, such as​ while driving. Sleep apnea appears to​ put individuals at​ risk for stroke. Successful treatment can also reduce the risk of​ heart and blood pressure problems.





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