What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects individuals of all ages. It’s a disorder that causes people to stop breathing while sleeping due to a partially or completely blocked airway. Obstruction occurs when relaxed throat muscles and tongue fall into the airway, causing it to narrow and block airflow to the brain and body. Unbeknownst to many, there are three types of sleep apnea; obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome.
Symptoms & Causes
Due to the blockage of the airway, many patients with sleep apnea experience symptoms like loud snoring and choking sounds when trying to breathe. Because the brain and body are deprived of oxygen when experiencing an episode, sleep apnea causes the individual to wake up multiple times throughout the night. While the brain may not fully wake the body, it is enough to disrupt the sleep cycle and cause patients to miss out on a good night’s rest. The continuous act of waking up throughout the night, which can average from 5 to 50 times an hour, may cause restlessness and severe fatigue throughout the day.
Managing Sleep Apnea
Living with sleep apnea is not easy. In fact, it has the ability to not only negatively impact your life but that of your partners as well. Living with a sleep disorder without the proper treatment or therapy can be quite challenging for everyone involved. Learning to manage your sleep apnea will not only help you get the rest you need but will also allow you to keep your body healthy for many years to come.
If sleep apnea is neglected and not treated in time, long term consequences of oxygen deprivation may affect your heart and metabolism. Getting a professional diagnosis and treatment will help alleviate symptoms and help you better manage your sleep apnea with the hopes of improving your quality of life.