Sleep Apnea is a common disorder that causes interruptions in breathing during sleep, preventing oxygen from reaching the brain. Sufferers wake hundreds of times per night, each time normal breathing is interrupted and the brain is depleted of oxygen. As a result, they never feel rested and experience excessive daytime grogginess. It is not a disease but increases risks of contracting other diseases and conditions. There are three types: obstructive, central and complex, which is a combination of the first two.
Central Sleep Apnea is caused when the brain fails to properly signal the muscles to breath. It is very uncommon and snoring is generally not a symptom.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea, with some estimates at 1 in 7 people in the U.S being afflicted with some form of OSA. In OSA, the muscles around the throat and airway relax, causing the airway to collapse. Sometimes the tongue falls back and obstructs the airway. The brain can no longer receive oxygen and sends a signal to the muscles to open, often causing the person to wake up with a gasp or a snort. Most of the time, sufferers do not recall waking up during these episodes.
Anyone can develop it, regardless of gender or age, and even children can be afflicted. The most common risk factors include:
Yes. The majority of people with OSA don’t even know they have it because it mimics symptoms of so many other disorders. It is particularly overlooked in women and children, whose symptoms may differ slightly from men. Untreated, OSA can contribute or exacerbate a wide variety of illnesses and disorders, including but not limited to:
Yes. It is very treatable, often with a combination of things, including lifestyle changes, oral appliance therapy, breathing assistance devices such as continuous positive airflow pressure (CPAP), upper airway stimulation therapies and surgery. Click to read more about treatment options. Often, people with obstructive sleep apnea suffer from underlying medical conditions, so once those are treated, some OSA symptoms subside.
Only a doctor or sleep specialist can confirm if you or a loved one is suffering from OSA. At Simple Sleep Services, we can evaluate you and send you home with a simple at-home sleep test that measures airflow, heart rate and oxygen saturation.
If you or your loved one experience more than one or two of the symptoms below, you should seek help to either diagnose or rule out OSA.