Sleep apnea is considered a severe sleep disorder that needs to be appropriately addressed. This is when a person stops breathing for a few seconds while sleeping. It has different patterns, and it could occur multiple times a night. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the oxygen levels in the blood drop, causing the sleep to be disrupted. One of the most significant symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring. And snoring can be treated by experts like Dental Sleep Clinic Melbourne.
Two Kinds of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea comes in two different types, obstructive sleep apnea, and central sleep apnea. Let us find out their differences below:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This sleep disorder has something to do with your breathing as you sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the airways of the person get blocked or interfered with. Your blood’s oxygen levels will be affected and cause you to pause breathing once a while for about ten seconds. The breathing pauses can happen several times while sleeping and might even walk you up at night gasping for air.
In most cases, obstructive sleep apnea is related to obesity and extra weight. As the person sleeps deeply, the muscles in the throat and tongue become more relaxed. This incident could cause the airways to get blocked and pause breathing. Additional reasons why obstructive sleep apnea occurs include:
- small throat
- round shaped head
- drug abuse
- allergic reactions
- medical conditions
- problems with nose structure
Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea has nothing to do with the mechanics of your breathing. Instead, this happens when the brain stops sending signals in your muscles or when it’s not correctly sending out signals. Because of this interruption, your breathing stops occasionally, and your oxygen levels drop.
The root cause of central sleep apnea is still unidentified. Doctors are still working tirelessly to determine why the brain suddenly stops sending signals to the muscles. However, central sleep apnea has been commonly associated with the following illnesses and situations:
- kidney and heart failure as well as stroke
- health conditions related to the cardiovascular system
- being in high altitudes
- medications and drugs, specifically opiates, have also been associated with CSA.
Moreover, there are still other factors to consider that might affect the brain’s functions in sending signals. These could include:
- brain tumors
- premature birth
- cerebral palsy
- smoking while pregnant
- head injuries
Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
People have different experiences with sleep apnea. Depending on the type of sleep disorder you have, the symptoms might overlap. The symptoms of sleep apnea are also sometimes why it’s hard to determine which type a person has.
However, listed below are the common symptoms of sleep apnea for your reference:
- loud snores
- breathing stops as noticed by your companion
- gasping air while asleep
- waking up with a dry mouth
- headaches in the morning
- sleepiness during day time
When to call the doctor?
Since snoring is quite common, it’s usually not paid attention to. Yet, if your snore is too loud that it distracts other people’s sleep, it most likely indicates an underlying sleep disorder. If you notice that you have sleep apnea symptoms, the best way to deal with it is by consulting your doctor.
The doctor will examine you according to your symptoms. Before your checkup, think through all the changes in your health and problems in sleeping. Be sure to discuss everything with your doctor for proper diagnosis. It would also help if you brought someone with you, particularly the person you share the bed with. They can help describe your symptoms as they have observed you while you were sleeping.
To diagnose sleep apnea, the following methods will be used by the doctor:
- Home sleep tests. This test will conclude by recording your heart rate, blood oxygen, breathing patterns, and airflow.
- Nocturnal polysomnography. In this test, you will be wire to a machine to monitor your vitals. The device will also monitor the movements of your legs and whole body.
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you will most likely receive treatments to resolve your sleeping issues.
Mild cases of sleep apnea do not usually require therapies. However, patients will be advised to make specific lifestyle changes. For instance, heavy drinkers and chain smokers might be asked to reduce the frequency of their habits. Overweight patients will be asked to reduce weight and practice a healthy diet. Lastly, if your sleep apnea is due to your allergies, the allergies with be dealt with respectively.
On the other note, if the symptoms are severe and causing you too much discomfort, you will be referred to the appropriate treatment.
- Continuous positive airway pressure. This will involve a machine that opens up the airways for better breathing. It is a mask that you will wear during sleep to prevent sleep apnea symptoms. Patients with mild to severe cases commonly use CPAP.
- Wearing an oral appliance. This tool is designed to keep your airways open and enables comfortable breathing. Tools like this can be bought from dental clinics; just let your dentist know why you need it.
- Supplemental oxygen. To increase the oxygen levels in your body, you may also be given oxygen devices.
Causes of Sleep Apnea-May 12, 2021 (https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/obstructive-sleep-apnea-causes)