Sleep Apnea: Facts, Types, Signs, and Treatments

People often mistake sleep apnea as snoring, but that’s not the main case. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder, affecting people in their daily performance.

Although snoring is disturbing and embarrassing, it is not as dangerous as the apnea. You shouldn’t consider this disorder as a light issue as it will affect your performance, focus, and even your overall health completely.

That’s why it is very important for you to gain more information about this sleep disorder, how to diagnose it, what are the signs, the types, and the possible treatments can be done at home or even by a professional.

Understanding the Sleep Cycle

Sleep is divided into two cycles: the light and the deep sleep. In light sleep cycle, your body and brain aren’t completely resting. Your body is still in alert mode, ready to flee or wake up when there is problem.

In order to stay healthy – both mentally and physically – and to restore your energy, you will need good deep sleep. But when you suffer from apnea, you won’t be able to reach the deep sleep.

You will remain in light sleep mode, causing you to constantly feel tired although you may feel that you have enough sleep.

You actually don’t get enough sleep, and when you don’t have enough sleep, you will be tired, fatigue, sleepy, lose focus, easily irritated, and easily harmed or injured.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Image credit to Wikipedia.org

Sleep Apnea Signs

Be aware if you find these signs in you or people around you because it’s possible to suffer from sleep apnea.

  • High blood pressure
  • Morning headache
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Large neck and obesity
  • Acid reflux
  • Diabetes
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Fatigue

The Disorder

In sleep apnea, your breathing is often obstructed or even stopped for several seconds, causing you to jerk awake in order to restore the breathing flow.

Although you may be awaken several times – in severe cases, even hundreds – you won’t realize or remember being awake. That’s why your body stays in the light sleep mode most of the time.

When you wake up the next morning, you won’t feel refreshed at all. On the contrary, you will feel even more tired, groggy, and cranky.

Sleep apnea is often caused by certain medical conditions, but very often, the disorder can lead to other serious medical issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular issue. This apnea is often accompanied by snoring, but in some cases, the patients don’t suffer from snoring issue, so snoring and apnea are completely two different problems.

Types of Apnea

Apnea can be divided into three major types:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It is the most common one, happening when the soft tissue relaxes and then obstructs the air passage. This type is often accompanied by snoring.
  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). It involves the nervous system where the brain doesn’t manage to send signals to muscles responsible for breathing. People suffering from this apnea don’t snore.
  • Complex Sleep Apnea. It is the combination of obstructive and central apnea.

The Treatments

Self Treatment

Treating yourself from sleep apnea is quite the same as treating snoring. You can start from losing weight. If you are smoking you can quit it as soon as possible.

Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, sleeping pills and sedative is also another way to treat this disorder. Moreover, you can do some exercises which are the same as stop snoring exercises as a self treatment of sleep apnea.

Medical Treatment

Although there are various self treatments of sleep apnea, it is important that you seek medical treatment right away from the specialist. Don’t take risk if you are not sure or don’t have any idea about self treatment because wrong treatment can make the problem worse.

Useful Resources

  1. HelpGuide.org, page Sleep Apnea
  2. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
  3. American Sleep Apnea Association
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