Sleep apnea is a prevalent disorder in which your breathing pauses and restarts several times while asleep, making it hard for your body to get enough oxygen. Symptoms include difficulty finding sleep, waking up feeling exhausted or morning headaches.
You should consult your doctor about sleep apnea if you find out that you gasp or snore while asleep or have other signs of inadequate sleep and feeling tired. This article will walk you through sleep apnea, its causes and symptoms, and possible treatment options.
Why Does Sleep Apnea Happen?
Sleep apnea has a clear cause, and there is evidence that it’s genetic. All in all, different types of sleep apnea (Obstructive and Central sleep apnea) happen in different ways and for various reasons.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Obstructive sleep apnea (common in many) occurs when the muscles in your neck relax while you sleep, causing the tissue around your windpipe to press on it and making it hard for air to get through.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain isn’t working right. In other words, CSA occurs when your brain fails to signal to the muscles that help you breathe. In typical situations, your brain controls your breathing, even when you sleep.
Central sleep apnea can be caused by:
- Heart Troubles.
- Low oxygen levels in the blood (hypoxia) due to being at a high altitude.
- Damage to your nervous system, particularly in one’s brainstem (which controls your breathing) or in sections of the spinal cord.
- Conditions that affect the nervous system include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
How do you know if you have sleep apnea?
Women with sleep apnea often report depression, insomnia, nightmares, restless legs, depression, nightmares, heart palpitations and hallucinations, while men mostly report apneic episodes and snoring. Women may think snoring is “unladylike”, so they’re less likely to discuss it.
Sleep apnea has several symptoms; some are easier to notice than others.
1. Sleep Symptoms
Waking up tired or even exhausted: Most people feel tired when they wake up due to sleep inertia. This feeling usually goes on for half an hour after you wake up. You may need to consult a medical doctor if this feeling (tiredness) lasts longer.
Feeling sleepy during the day: While this is not common, sleeping during the day as a symptom mainly occurs in severe cases. This could be dangerous as it could affect your daily routine and may subject you to a lot of danger, especially when driving.
Snoring: Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, though it doesn’t happen in every case. However, several reports indicate that snoring can be a concern if accompanied by other OSA symptoms.
Getting up several times at night: This symptom could be more challenging to spot because most people don’t remember why they might have woken up at night. In most cases, people conclude that they might have woken up due to other reasons like going to the loo.
2. Respiratory Symptoms
In most cases, partners have reported instances of their loved ones struggling with breathing palpitations or tossing and turning in bed.
Strange ways of breathing: Cheyne-Stokes breathing (CSB) is a peculiar way of breathing, most common in people with central sleep apnea. Ideally, CSB makes one breathe quickly and deeply, then shallowly, until they can’t breathe anymore.
Night sweats and not being able to sleep: Alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine, and smoking are all things that can trigger night sweats, which is why it’s recommended that you keep your room cool and wear light clothes to bed.
3. Mood Swings
Emotional imbalance/ mood swings: Sleep apnea often leads to depression and anxiety. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep have more negative feelings (like anger, frustration, irritability, and sadness) and fewer positive feelings.
Alterations in brain functions: Some of these are memory loss, trouble focusing, and other problems with the brain. I recommend you seek medical attention if these become severe.
Problems with your sexuality: Lack of sleep is linked to less sexual desire and excitement in women. So, insomnia, one of the most prevalent sleep problems, may be a sign of sexual dysfunction. There is also a greater chance of having erectile dysfunction if you don’t get enough sleep or if you are an insomniac.
Headaches in the morning after waking up: People with migraines and chronic headaches are more likely to experience sleep problems. Again, headaches can be caused by not getting enough sleep or not getting good sleep.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Studying your sleep patterns is one of the best ways to diagnose sleep apnea.
Once detected, your doctor will recommend the most appropriate medical treatment process. You may be advised to hire a CPAP machine from CPAP Direct to help treat the condition. If CPAP therapy doesn’t work, then you might need surgery to fix the issue bringing about your sleep apnea.
Ensure you are diagnosed with sleep apnea and treated in time. Sleep apnea can make it hard to focus, make decisions, remember things, or keep your behaviour in check — obviously, you wouldn’t want this.
Treating Sleep Apnea
There are many ways to treat sleep apnea, depending on the kind of sleep apnea you’re dealing with. Even though no method provides a cure, adopting them can help stop apnea episodes or lessen how often or badly they happen.
Leverage a couple of treatments regularly to lessen or even eliminate the effects of sleep apnea on your life.
That said, below are some possible treatments:
Treatments not involving medicine work for obstructive sleep apnea. They include weight loss, changing your sleeping position, using nasal sprays or treating the underlying cause of your sleep apnea.
Positive airway pressure and adaptable ventilation devices. For example, you can hire a CPAP machine from CPAP Direct to help increase the pressure of air in your windpipe to aid in breathing.
Oral equipment (MAD) that presses down on your windpipe to open your airways. For example, an oral device, similar to an orthodontic retainer, is worn over the teeth at night to keep the jaw forward and the airway clear.
Treatment by surgery on your nose or mouth — the most common surgeries are somnoplasty, tonsillectomy, jaw surgery, nasal surgery and UPPP.
Nerve Stimulators are usually placed under the tongue to help push the tongue forward when you breathe and work best for people with obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that makes it hard for most moms to breathe while they sleep, making it hard for moms to get a good night’s sleep. Central sleep apnea can cause severe or fatal problems over time, so getting it checked out and treated as soon as possible is essential.