Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes breathing during sleep to start and stop.(Apnea means absence of breathing)
There are 3 types of sleep apnea.
- Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common form. OSA occurs when throat muscles relax and block the flow of air into the lungs.
- Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea is a form of central apnea specifically identified by the persistence or emergence of central apneas or hypopneas upon exposure to CPAP or other continuous positive airway pressure device.
Great harm to a person’s health can occur if sleep apnea isn’t controlled. Treating sleep apnea can be of great benefit which includes increased energy and attentiveness during the day, lower blood pressure, decreased risk of a stroke or a heart attack that can result from sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea are three to five times more likely to be in a serious car crash involving personal injury because sleep apnea causes excessive daytime sleepiness. Patients who see a physician and control their sleep apnea by using the prescribed equipment every night sleep better and see improved overall quality of life.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud or disruptive snoring
- Sudden stopped breathing or gasping for air during sleep
- Difficulty sleeping or
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Trouble paying attention while awake
- Morning headaches
- High blood pressure
- Weight problems
Sleep apnea can be treated easily. Your physician will examine your sleep study. Then he/she will prescribe a medical device called a CPAP or BIPAP that provides continuous airway pressure providing a flow of air pressure through your nose using a mask or a nose “pillow”, preventing the airway collapse which allows you to breathe freely.