Sleep Apnea: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments
Most people, if not, everybody is familiar with snoring. It may seem annoying when someone snores loudly, however, loud snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea.
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Sleep apnea is a severe and even dangerous sleep disorder that blocks oxygen from flowing through the brain and the rest of the body. It is also normal for people with sleep apnea to not be aware of their disorder as sleep apnea occurs when the person is asleep.
To understand more about sleep apnea, its causes and the treatments, let’s dive deep into this article.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea:
1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common type amongst the three. It occurs when the throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway. This causes the person to snore and gasp for air during the sleep.
When the throat muscles relax too much, the airway from which air comes in and out is blocked. This causes carbon dioxide to pile up. Fortunately, the brain can sense the impaired breathing and wakes the person up.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea can happen up to 30 times a night. Often, the person suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea is not even aware that they abruptly awaken during the night.
2. Central Sleep Apnea
Central Sleep Apnea is more complicated and dangerous compared to the Obstructive Sleep Apnea. With Central Sleep Apnea, the throat muscles do not block the airway and instead the brain ‘tells’ the muscles to stop breathing.
Central Sleep Apnea can occur for as long as 20 seconds, and it is often caused by severe illnesses such as kidney failure, hypothyroid disease, congestive heart failures, Parkinson’s disease, or Alzheimer diseases.
3. Complex Sleep Apnea
Complex Sleep Apnea is also known as Mixed Sleep Apnea. It is a combination of both Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea Explained
It is best to consult medical experts when you feel that you might suffer from sleep apnea. If you are unsure about sleep apnea symptoms, here are a few guides to examine yourself.
- Loud snoring: It is the most apparent sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
- Morning Headaches: The oxygen is blocked from flowing to the brain by the bloodstream.
- Depression or mood swings: Although it may not always due to sleep apnea. Constant lack of a good night’s sleep can cause a person to be very irritable and even depressed.
- Dry mouth and lips.
- Decreased libido.
Additionally, according to research, sleep apnea occurs almost twice as often in men from 40 years old rather than in women.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
There are various reasons for developing sleep apnea. Usually, weight is considered one of the causes of sleep apnea. Someone who is overweight is more likely to have the Obstructive Sleep Apnea due to the excessive fat tissues that build up in the neck and throat.
Enlarged tonsils are the leading cause of the Obstructive Sleep Apnea in children although it does not rule out the case of sleep apnea in adults. Similarly, the Obstructive Sleep Apnea may also occur to someone who has already had a tonsillectomy or the surgery to remove the tonsils.
Another cause for sleep apnea involves smoking and alcohol consumption. While smoking may cause inflammation and increase the amount of fluid retention in the upper airway, alcohol relaxes the muscles in the body, including the throat muscles.
Central Sleep Apnea is often associated with other illnesses such as kidney failure. Patients with kidney failure may have fluid build back around their neck and throat. This causes the block in the airway and eventually prevent them from having regular breathing.
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Procedures of sleep apnea often involve therapies. The most famous and effective treatment, in particular, is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). The CPAP is a machine that produces a somewhat greater air pressure compared to the surrounding air.
A person may be equipped with a CPAP machine connected through the nose mask. It works by continuously sending higher air pressure to keep the throat muscles open.
Other treatment methods used to treat sleep apnea are dental appliances or oral appliances. The dental device is applied to the person to keep the throat open during sleeping.
Natural remedies for sleep apnea rely on the person’s lifestyle. Lesser alcohol and cigarettes intake can reduce sleep apnea. Additionally, a workout and diet to balance the person’s weight can also help to cure sleep apnea.
For more information regarding sleep apnea and its preemptive steps, you can visit Okadoc and consult with healthcare providers online.
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