Sleep Apnea is a condition in which you repeatedly stop and start breathing during your sleep cycle. Common symptoms that accompany this disease include loud snoring and feeling tired even after a full night’s rest.
Sleep apnea that is caused by your throat muscles relaxing is called obstructive sleep apnea. Your airway narrows when these muscles relax, and you are unable to get an adequate breath. With less air coming into the body, your blood oxygen levels lower and your brain senses the inability to breathe. It then awakens your body to reopen your away, but because this period of awakening is so brief it usually goes unremembered.
Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send a signal to the body telling it to inhale. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea that is called my muscle relaxation, central sleep apnea is caused by a neurological problem. It is usually found among those afflicted with another problem such as chronic heart failure, brain diseases or injuries, spine issues, stroke and other conditions. There is also the case of idiopathic central sleep apnea, where the cause cannot be determined.
While sleep apnea is a problem in itself, it can also cause other issues to manifest. These include but are not limited to: high blood pressure, complications with medication and surgery, liver problems, disturbance of partner’s sleep and daytime fatigue.
Depending on the case, sleep apnea can be treated in different ways. Treatment can be as simple as changing behavioral habits, such as sleeping positions, or can be more involved such as implementing an oral device to open airways. Surgery may be required in some cases.
If you have sleep apnea, contact our office. We work with local sleep apnea specialists and may be able to fit you with custom made appliance to remedy the problem. If no medical evaluation has been performed before, a sleep study will be recommended to better address the cause.