Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. The pause in breathing is caused by a blockage in the airway. Each pause typically lasts 10-20 seconds or more. These pauses can occur 20 to 30 times or more an hour, limiting the amount of air that reaches your lungs. This decrease in airflow to the lungs causes loud snoring and choking noises as the person tries to breathe. When sleep is repeatedly interrupted throughout the night, the person will be very sleepy during the day.

Sleep apnea is very common disorder. Sleep apnea is also called the snoring disease.

Does snoring mean you have sleep apnea?

Snoring does not specifically indicate sleep apnea but it a symptom of sleep apnea. Someone can snore because they are overweight or have a cold without having sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea.
    • The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is the relaxed tongue blocking the throat which results in pauses in breathing.
  2. Central Sleep Apnea
    • Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea
    • Caused by a problem in the nerve pathways that stimulate and control breathing.
  3. Mixed Apnea
    • A brief period of central apnea followed by a longer period of obstructive apnea.

Symptoms of sleep apnea in adults?

Some common symptoms are:

  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • frequent episodes of obstructed breathing during sleep
  • snoring

How to get rid of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can be treated. Treatment options will depend on the severity. Some common treatments are: changes in your sleep habits, weight loss, and medication. Your doctor might suggest a breathing device such as a positive airway pressure (PAP) machine, mouthpiece, or implant.

Sleep apnea complications 

If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause memory loss, weight gain, impotency, headaches, and increase the chance of developing high blood pressure, having a heart attack or stroke. Untreated sleep apnea can also increase the risk of diabetes and the risk for work-related accidents and driving accidents.

Sleep Apnea and when to see a doctor

If sleep apnea is disturbing your sleep and causing changes in mood, difficulty concentrating on work or school, or overall feelings of blah, talk with your doctor.

In some instances, individuals might not know they have sleep apnea. If you live with someone who sleeps next to you, ask them about your sleeping habits. If possible, bring this person to the doctor with you so they can answer the doctor’s questions.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What can I do to sleep better?
  • What symptoms should I be concerned about?
  • Will a sleep journal help?
  • Do I need to take medicine?
  • Will CBD oil help me sleep better?