Sleep apnea (Cheyne-Stokes breathing) is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They often occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.Sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep 3 or more nights each week. You often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep when your breathing pauses or becomes shallow.This results in poor sleep quality that makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of excessive daytime sleepiness.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This most often means that the airway has collapsed or is blocked during sleep. The blockage may cause shallow breathing or breathing pauses.When you try to breathe, any air that squeezes past the blockage can cause loud snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea happens more often in people who are overweight, but it can affect anyone.
Central sleep apnea often occurs with obstructive sleep apnea, but it can occur alone. Snoring doesn’t typically happen with central sleep apnea.
Untreated sleep apnea can:
* Increase the risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes
* Increase the risk for or worsen heart failure
* Make irregular heartbeats more likely
* Increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents
In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways can be blocked or narrowed during sleep because:
* Your throat muscles and tongue relax more than normal.
* Your tongue and tonsils (tissue masses in the back of your mouth) are large compared to the opening into your windpipe.
* You’re overweight. The extra soft fat tissue can thicken the wall of the windpipe. This causes the inside opening to narrow and makes it harder to keep open.
* The shape of your head and neck may cause a smaller airway size in the mouth and throat area.
* The aging process limits the ability of brain signals to keep your throat muscles stiff during sleep. This makes it more likely that the airway will narrow or collapse.
Major Signs and Symptoms
One of the most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea is loud and chronic (ongoing) snoring. Pauses may occur in the snoring. Choking or gasping may follow the pauses.The snoring usually is loudest when you sleep on your back; it may be less noisy when you turn on your side. Snoring may not happen every night. Over time, the snoring may happen more often and get louder.
You’re asleep when the snoring or gasping occurs. You will likely not know that you’re having problems breathing or be able to judge how severe the problem is. Your family members or bed partner will often notice these problems before you do.
Others signs and symptoms of sleep apnea may include:
* Morning headaches
* Memory or learning problems and not being able to concentrate
* Feeling irritable, depressed, or having mood swings or personality changes
* Urination at night
* A dry throat when you wake up
Your doctor will check your mouth, nose, and throat for extra or large tissues. The tonsils often are enlarged in children with sleep apnea.
Adults with the condition may have an enlarged uvula or soft palate. The uvula is the tissue that hangs from the middle of the back of your mouth.A sleep study is the most accurate test for diagnosing sleep apnea. It captures what happens with your breathing while you sleep.
A polysomnogram (PSG), is the most common study for diagnosing sleep apnea. This test records:
* Brain activity
* Eye movement and other muscle activity
* Breathing and heart rate
* How much air moves in and out of your lungs while you’re sleeping
* The amount of oxygen in your blood
Treatment Of Sleep Apnea ?
* Avoid alcohol and medicines that make you sleepy. They make it harder for your throat to stay open while you sleep.
* Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese. Even a little weight loss can improve your symptoms.
* Sleep on your side instead of your back to help keep your throat open. You can sleep with special pillows or shirts that prevent you from sleeping on your back.
* Keep your nasal passages open at night with nose sprays or allergy medicines, if needed. Talk to your doctor about whether these treatments might help you.
* Stop smoking.
A mouthpiece, sometimes called an oral appliance, may help some people who have mild sleep apnea. Your doctor also may recommend a mouthpiece if you snore loudly but don’t have sleep apnea. A dentist can make a custom-fit plastic mouthpiece for treating sleep apnea.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea in adults. A CPAP machine uses a mask that fits over your mouth and nose, or just over your nose. The machine gently blows air into your throat.
Some people who have sleep apnea may benefit from surgery. The type of surgery and how well it works depend on the cause of the sleep apnea.Surgery is done to widen breathing passages. It usually involves removing, shrinking, or stiffening excess tissue in the mouth and throat or resetting the lower jaw.
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors usually can’t detect the condition during routine office visits. Also, there are no blood tests for the condition. Most people who have sleep apnea don’t know they have it because it only occurs during sleep.Lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery, and/or breathing devices can successfully treat sleep apnea in many people. Treatment can improve your overall health and happiness as well as your quality of sleep.Consult your doctor today for more information or call us at 177-645-0704.