Most people with the condition have the first kind, obstructive sleep apnea OSA. Sleep apnea due to a signaling problem is known as central sleep apnea CSA. The person will unknowingly stop breathing repeatedly throughout sleep.
Once the airway is opened or the breathing signal is received, the person may snort, take a deep breath, or awaken completely with a sensation of gasping, smothering, or choking. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to potentially serious health complications, such as heart disease and depression. It can also leave a person feeling drowsy, increasing the risk of accidents while driving or working.
Sleep apnea is a common problem associated with decreased overall health and a higher risk of life-threatening complications, such as motor vehicle accidents, difficulty concentrating, depression, heart attack , and stroke. Depending on the cause and the level of apnea, there are different methods of treatment. The goal of treatment is to normalize breathing during sleep.
Lifestyle modifications are essential to normalizing breathing, and they are critical first steps in treatment. It keeps the airway open by gently providing a constant stream of positive pressure air through a mask. Some people have trouble using CPAP and stop the treatment before achieving any lasting benefit. However, there are many measures that can be taken to make the equipment more comfortable and the adjustment period smooth.
The mask and its settings can be adjusted, and adding moisture to the air as it flows through the mask can relieve nasal symptoms.
Surgery: There are various surgical procedures for OSA that can widen the airway. Surgery can be used to stiffen or shrink obstructing tissue, or remove excess tissue, or enlarged tonsils. Depending on the extent of the surgery, procedures can be carried out in a doctor's office or a hospital. This mouthpiece holds the jaw in a forward position during sleep to expand the space behind the tongue.
This helps keep the upper airway open, preventing apneas, and snoring. Side effects of an MRD may include jaw or tooth pain, and potential aggravation of temporomandibular joint disease. Untreated sleep apnea and its effects can have severe consequences. Any individual with excessive daytime sleepiness or other symptoms of sleep apnea should ask a doctor about their symptoms. A person with sleep apnea may be unaware of their symptoms, but another person may notice that the sleeper stops breathing, suddenly gasps or grunts, wakes up, and then goes back to sleep.
A person is more likely to have sleep apnea if they have a large neck circumference.
This is greater than 17 inches for men, and greater than 15 inches for women. Muscular changes: When people sleep, the muscles that keep the airway open relax, along with the tongue, causing the airway to narrow. Normally, this relaxation does not prevent the flow of air in and out of the lungs, but in sleep apnea, it can.
Physical obstructions: Additional thickened tissue or excessive fat stores around the airway can restrict the airflow, and any air that squeezes past can cause the loud snoring typically associated with OSA. Brain function: In central sleep apnea CSA , the neurological controls for breathing are faulty, causing the control and rhythm of breathing to malfunction.
5 Home Remedies for Sleep Apnea: What Works?
CSA is usually associated with an underlying medical condition, such as a stroke or heart failure , recent ascent to high altitude, or the use of pain relief medication. When the airway becomes completely blocked, the snoring stops and there is no breathing for a second time period or until the brain senses the apnea and signals the muscles to tighten, returning the airflow.
This pause in breathing is known as apnea. Although this process continues hundreds of times throughout the night, the individual experiencing the apnea is not conscious of the problem. Anyone who feels chronically tired or groggy during the day should consult a medical provider to determine both the exact cause and necessary steps to address the problem. Sleep apnea is diagnosed with a sleep study nocturnal polysomnography carried out at an overnight sleep laboratory. This records brain waves, eye and leg movements, oxygen levels, airflow, and heart rhythm during sleep.
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A physician who specializes in sleep disorders interprets the test. The number of apnea episodes that occur every hour determines sleep apnea severity:. Article last updated by Yvette Brazier on Thu 18 January All references are available in the References tab. Aurora, R.
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People with sleep apnea might also suffer from unexplained fatigue and mood swings, because their breathing interruptions continually wake them and prevent them from settling into a deep, nourishing sleep. The consequences can be significant, Jun says. Other sufferers might wake up with a dry mouth, since sleep apnea tends to make you breathe with an open mouth, drying out your saliva. Some awaken with a headache, which may be caused by low oxygen or high carbon dioxide levels during sleep.
There are many studies showing that losing weight can either completely cure you of sleep apnea or at least make it less severe," Jun says. Why this connection? For one thing, obesity is common in sleep apnea patients, and obesity greatly increases risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack, he says. Furthermore, evidence suggests an independent link between sleep apnea and diabetes. For people who are overweight or obese, weight loss is key for treating or avoiding sleep apnea. People who accumulate fat in the neck, tongue and upper belly are especially vulnerable to getting sleep apnea.
This weight reduces the diameter of the throat and pushes against the lungs, contributing to airway collapse during sleep. Women in particular should be careful as they age. While premenopausal women tend to put on weight in the hips and in the lower body instead of the belly, this shifts with time. Obstructive sleep apnea can range from mild to severe, based on a measurement system called the apnea-hypopnea index AHI.
The AHI measures the number of breathing pauses that you experience per hour that you sleep. National Sleep Foundation The National Sleep Foundation focuses on sleep education and advocacy that promotes health and well-being. Favorite Sources to Learn About Tech for Sleep Apnea Tuck Tuck is a website dedicated to information about sleep products, including buying information and reviews. Products that get recommended are tested in a Tuck lab, along with being reviewed by individual users. Tuck does feature advertising on the site, but the company discloses how its affiliate relationships are separated from editorial content.
One of the most helpful parts of the site? The comparison charts in various buying guides like the one that compares specifications and features of different CPAP machines lays out all the information you want to know, in a very reader-friendly format. Park has written three books on sleep and sleep disorders, and his podcast and work focuses on helping people sleep better and address potential sleep disorders.
Favorite Online Support Networks CPAPTalk This online forum is a place for people with sleep apnea and the medical providers who treat them to ask questions and get answers. The forum includes a section devoted to user-generated product reviews. The website also features a blog with posts about patient stories and new research.
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Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. August Peppard, PE, et al. American Journal of Epidemiology. May 1, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. August 22, Sleep Apnea. Mayo Clinic. Under development: hypoglossal neurostimulation implants to treat sleep apnea. American Sleep Apnea Association.
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