Are you meeting the required amount of sleep per night but still waking up with headaches, irritability, and feeling groggy? Sometimes, it seems like multiple cups of coffee just aren’t enough to get through the day. Excessive daytime lethargy is often linked to sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea causes patients to experience abnormal pauses of breathing as they slumber. These pauses are abrupt and repetitive, which may decrease sleep quality even if the quantity of sleep is reached.
Sleep apnea affects inhaling and exhaling while sleeping and is labeled as one of three types:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
- Complex Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea may be caused by a single factor or a combination of circumstances. Some common causes of sleep apnea are:
- Atypical anatomical position
- Use of sedatives
- Family history
- Sleeping on the back
Sleep apnea affects less than 10% of adults in the United States, but many cases are believed to go undiagnosed. Sleep apnea can affect patients of any age but is most prevalent in adults. Additionally, OSA and CSA sleep apnea are more commonplace in biological males than biological females.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
OSA induces temporary lapses of breath. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the airway at the back of the throat becomes physically blocked by excess tissue. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
CSA produces slower and shallower breathing and is caused by an issue in the central nervous system. Central sleep apnea is prevalent in 0.9% of adults over the age of 40.
Complex Sleep Apnea
Complex Sleep Apnea is characterized as simultaneous OSA and CSA. At first, patients with complex sleep apnea resemble signs of obstructive sleep apnea and cease respiring 20 to 30 moments per hour. After alleviating OSA symptoms with a CPAP (continuous airway pressure) machine, patients who suffer from Complex Sleep Apnea still appear to have fragmented breathing like CSA. Complex Sleep Apnea affects 6.5% of Central Sleep Apnea patients.
All types of sleep apnea involve mutual symptoms:
- Disrupted Sleep Patterns
- Excessive Daytime Fatigue
- Morning Headaches
- Difficulty Thinking Clearly
- Limited Attention Span
In addition to the above symptoms, OSA is associated with:
- Chronic Snoring
- Gagging, choking, or snorting (may cause brief periods of awakeness)
- Frequent need to urinate throughout the night
- Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
One of the most accurate, simple, and cost-effective methods to diagnose sleep apnea is a home sleep test. A home sleep test is a comfortable, high-tech monitor that senses breathing patterns and oxygen levels. This small commitment is more economical than a complete in-lab sleep study and is typically covered by health insurance.
After receiving results from the at-home sleep test, your doctor will be able to study and treat your sleep apnea.
- Mild Sleep Apnea: Treated with lifestyle modifications or a prescribed oral appliance that moves the jaw forward
- Severe Sleep Apnea: May increase mortality and must be treated as soon as possible. Controlled with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), machines provide oxygen through a mask to prevent irregular breathing, or surgery to remove excess tissue may be necessary.
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When left untreated, sleep apnea takes a toll on physical, mental, and emotional health.
If you believe that you are suffering from sleep apnea or have additional questions about this disorder, schedule a consultation with Dr. Hardt in Porterville, CA by calling 559-784-6523 or messaging us online.