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What is Sleep Apnea?
Posted on 11/15/2023 by Weo Admin
Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep condition that occurs as interrupted or shallow breathing during sleep. These breathing interruptions (apneas) can persist for a few seconds to several minutes and happen multiple times throughout the night. The condition is often associated with loud snoring, resulting in disrupted sleep patterns and heightened daytime drowsiness. It is treated through lifestyle changes, oral appliances, oxygen therapy, and sleep apnea surgery. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (OMS) carry out surgical procedures to address significant anatomical issues that contribute to sleep apnea.
Types Of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs in two forms. Below we go into detail of each:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
This prevalent type occurs when the muscles at the rear of the throat relax while sleeping, leading to a constriction of the airway. This narrowing results in snoring, and when the airway becomes obstructed, it hinders adequate oxygen flow. Consequently, to restore proper airflow, partial or complete awakenings occur. These interruptions in breathing occur repeatedly throughout the sleep cycle.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
This type is less common than OSA. It occurs due to impaired communication between the brain and the muscles involved in breathing. Individuals with CSA, specifically the brain stem, fail to perceive carbon dioxide levels in the body while asleep adequately. Consequently, this results in recurrent instances of breathing that is slower and shallower than it should ideally be. Unlike OSA, the airway has no physical blockage, but the brain doesn't initiate the necessary breathing efforts.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
A person's bed partner often notices the early symptoms of sleep apnea. While many individuals with this condition do not have sleep disturbances, there are several prominent indicators to watch out for. Common indications of sleep apnea include extreme daytime sleepiness and loud snoring frequently interrupted by gasping or choking sounds. You may also experience morning headaches lasting for hours after waking up.
Upon waking, you might have a sore throat and dry mouth. Besides, you might have sexual dysfunction, night sweats, frequent urination during the night, migraines, and mood changes. You may also feel restless while trying to sleep. Some people might encounter irritability, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating. Children may experience lethargy and bedwetting.