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What is Sleep Apnea

WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?

Sleep apnea is one of the most common types of sleeping disorders. In this disorder, breathing abruptly stops and then starts again. This would keep on happening repetitively and you will evidently keep on snoring loudly. Other effects include a feeling of tiredness, even after a proper night’s sleep.

3 MAIN TYPES OF SLEEP APNEA:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea – breathing will abruptly stop and start when the throat muscles relax.
  2. Central Sleep Apnea – breathing will abruptly stop and start when the brain fails to coordinate with the muscles that control breathing.
  3. Complex Sleep Apnea – it is a combination of the two sleep apneas.

SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEA

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There are no clear cut signs and symptoms that distinguish one form of sleep apnea from the other. This means that a person who is suffering from an Obstructive Sleep Apnea could show the same signs and symptoms of a person with a Central Sleep Apnea. This would make it difficult for a medical practitioner to recommend a proper CPAP  Machine for Sleep Apnea Treatment. Nevertheless, here are the symptoms which are prevalent among all sleep apnea patients:

  • Excessively loud snoring
  • Frequent panting or breath cessation during the sleep
  • Abrupt awakenings from sleep only to find yourself short of breath
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Having difficulty sleeping (mild-to-moderate insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness and sleepiness (hyper-insomnia)
  • Attention problems, low concentration span and possible ADD
  • Frequent  and persistent irritability and mood swings

Sleep apnea patients are easily drained in a day-to-day chore. If you feel chronically fatigued, irritable and sleepy at all times then there is a chance that you might be suffering from sleep apnea. Loud snoring, often punctuated by a period of silence is a typical indicator of sleep apnea. In any case, it would be best to consult with a professional doctor if you are showing one or more of the above mentioned conditions.

CAUSES OF SLEEP APNEA

As mentioned earlier, obstructive sleep apnea is the most commonly occurring sleep apnea It occurs when during sleep, the muscles located in the back of your throat would relax. These muscles form the supporting structure for a soft palate of your gum and a small piece of tissue hanging towards the deep beginning of your throat (known as the uvula).

When your throat muscles relax, your air passage would narrow and start to close in. This would restrict the flow of oxygen within your body. Your brain would sense the dropping oxygen level from your lungs and blood cells and briefly awaken you from sleep so that you can get up, breathe heavily and restore your oxygen level.

Upon sleeping, the falling oxygen level in a sleep apnea patient would make them snore, choke or grasp for air. This pattern would keep on repeating itself from 5 times up to 30 times within an hour of sleep. Due to these disruptions, a sleep apnea patient wouldn’t be able to get enough sleep at night and would remain drowsy, lethargic and irritable throughout the day.

Sleep apnea could lead to a serious long-term health implication if not treated on a regular basis.

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