Sleep apnea is a medical condition where your breathing tends to pause on several occasions while you are sleeping. Your body suddenly wakes up so that you can resume breathing. Because you are interrupted several times while sleeping, you can’t get a good night’s sleep.
As a result, you feel tired throughout the day. Moreover, sleep apnea can harm you in many ways other than having a sleepy day. When you don’t treat it well, it can give rise to diabetes, heart diseases, and so on. Continue reading the post to learn more about it.
So, what is sleep apnea?
It is a sleeping disorder where you have interrupted breathing sessions during sleep. Moreover, these breathing pauses could last for up to a few seconds and can happen several times within an hour. Because of the lack of oxygen, your body jolts you awake.
Sometimes, the action is for a few fractions of seconds and so you don’t remember it often. However, these interruptions during your natural sleep cycle mean that you spend less time having a good sleep.
In short, you spend less time in restorative, deep sleep, which is very important for you to remain mentally sharp, productive, and energetic the following day. Also, sleep apnea can cause different types of health problems and in certain cases, it might be deadly.
So, if you or your partner are having this sleeping disorder, it is wise to consult a physician without further delay. It is very important to address this serious issue and seek proper medication or therapy.
What are the symptoms and signs of sleep apnea?
Naturally, the symptoms of sleep apnea are not recognized by the patient suffering from it, but by their partner. And, most people who are affected by this disorder have no complaints. Here are the most common symptoms of having this sleeping disorder.
- Intense snoring
- Fatigue or daytime sleepiness
- Sudden awakenings at night with a feeling of choking or gasping
- Regular nighttime awakenings or insomnia
- Restlessness while sleeping
- Sore throat or dry mouth after waking
- Frequent mood disturbances
- Regular nighttime urination
- Cognitive impairment
- Sexual dysfunction
Symptoms in children can’t be ignored either.
- Poor performance in school
- Sleepiness, which is misinterpreted as laziness during the class hours
- Have trouble in swallowing and daytime mouth breathing
- Movement of ribcage while breathing
- Unusual sleeping positions
- Excessive sweating during nighttime
- Behavioral disorders
What are the side effects of having sleep apnea?
When you don’t treat sleep apnea in the right way, it can lead to many health problems. These might include the following.
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, and heart failure
- Heart stroke
- Depression and anxiety
- Worsening of ADHD
Apart from that, untreated sleep apnea gives you poor performance in everyday life and you can’t deliver your best in any activity.
What are the types of sleep apnea?
There are mainly two types of this sleeping disorder, which are obstructive and central. However, there is another type known as complex sleep apnea. Let’s discuss them elaborately.
- Obstructive sleep apnea – This type of sleeping disorder is the most common of the three. It is the result of repetitive episodes of either partial or complete upper blockage of airflow during sleep.
When someone goes through an apneic phase, the chest muscles and diaphragm work harder so that the pressure can force open the airways. As such, breathing resumes with a body jerk or gasp. These phases interfere with the sound sleep cycle and reduce the oxygen flow to the vital organs.
- Central sleep apnea – This type of sleeping disorder is less common. And, the central nervous system gets involved in it. Central sleep apnea happens because of the interruption of signals sent by the brain to the different types of muscles responsible for breathing. However, most of the time, it is caused by a suppressed health condition. Moreover, people with this type of disorder seldom snore.
- Complex sleep apnea – This is the rarest type that is formed because of the combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can cause sleepless nights and expose your health to several severe diseases. But you can control it. Certain treatments such as CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure can maintain the flow of oxygen to your lungs without interrupting your sleep. Also, losing weight can help you fight this sleeping disorder.