Take a deep breath in and, without releasing your deep breath, read to the end of the following paragraph.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized with pauses in breathing, shallow breathing or infrequent breathing. These pauses can last several seconds or several minutes. More than extreme snoring, the paused breathing causes carbon dioxide to build up in the bloodstream. When the brain and body don’t get the proper amount of oxygen, many harmful and sometimes life-threatening side effects can occur.
Now release your deep breath. How do you feel? Imagine being asleep and doing that over and over throughout the night without realizing it. This is a small example of what people suffering from sleep apnea go through – every night.
Types of sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – While the muscles of your body naturally relax during sleep, the muscles in the back of your throat relax as well. Your airway, which is made up of collapsible walls of soft tissue, can cause a breathing obstruction during sleep.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) – This type of sleep disorder is caused by your brain’s respiratory control center to be imbalanced during sleep. As carbon dioxide levels increase in the blood stream, this mechanism in the brain ceases to respond quickly enough to maintain an even respiratory rate.
Symptoms of sleep apnea
Many people are unaware they suffer from sleep apnea. Diagnosing sleep apnea involves an evaluation of symptoms combined with a participation in an overnight sleep test. Some of the symptoms include:
If your sleep apnea condition can’t be self-regulated there are medical treatments that may be prescribed by your doctor.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device used while sleeping
Automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) device used while sleeping
Sleep apnea is a very serious health and sleep condition that can be regulated with the support of a medical professional. If you feel you are at risk for sleep apnea or believe you are presenting symptoms please consult your doctor.