What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder whereby breathing interrupts sleep. There are various kinds of sleep apnea.
- Obstructive sleep apnea: – OSA occurs due to complete or partial blockage of the airway passage. This reduces the flow of oxygen to the vital parts of the body causing breathing difficulty. The breathing resumes with a jolt, gasp, or body jerk.
- Central sleep apnea: – CSA is a nervous system disorder. The instability in the respiratory system causes the brain to fail to signal the muscles to breathe.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome: – Complex sleep apnea syndrome is when a person has both OSA and CSA.
Signs of sleep apnea:
There are many signs of sleep apnea that you must not ignore. It is important to treat the problem before it aggravates. Otherwise, serious ailments such as cardiac problems, hypertension, and others may occur. Here are the most common signs of sleep apnea:
- Sleep apnea causes very loud snoring that is audible in the other room or disturbs the sleep of your partner.
- Fatigue and restlessness are also common symptoms. When you do not sleep well at night, you feel lethargic all day long.
- Sleep apnea causes people to often get up with a dry mouth or dry throat. It is because sleep apnea causes people to breathe through the mouth.
- Another very common symptom is difficulty in remembering things and the inability to concentrate.
- Sleep apnea patients usually suffer from mood swings and irritability. In some cases, mental health worsens to the extent that the person suffers severe depression and anxiety.
- Discomfort at night is also a common symptom of sleep apnea. Frequent urination spells, excessive night sweat, and constantly waking up are some examples of how sleep apnea causes discomfort.
- Severe headaches due to decreased oxygen supply and poor night’s sleep are common associations with sleep apnea.
When to see a doctor:
When the earliest signs of sleep apnea start to show up, it is ideal to start working on the problem. It is best to seek medical help immediately. The doctor shall help you diagnose the problem effectively. A medical professional shall help you identify the root cause of sleep apnea treatment. Sometimes healthy changes in lifestyle help alleviate the problem significantly. These include reducing weight, quitting alcohol and tobacco. Simple adjustments to sleeping postures also reduce sleep apnea.
In case of a severe sleep disorder, the physician shall recommend a sleep test. After a thorough diagnosis including sleep studies, blood tests, and physical examination, the doctor shall conclude the level of sleep obstruction. For moderate to severe sleep apnea, the doctor shall recommend a suitable therapy. Mechanical therapy is most appropriate for mild to moderate sleep apnea. It helps increase the flow of oxygen into the body through machines. Mandibular advancement devices are also very effective in reducing mild to moderate sleep apnea.
In the case of extreme sleep apnea, doctors examine the efficacy of the surgical intervention.
Hence, ideally, you must see the doctor immediately before the problem worsens.