Sleep Apnea: Your Sleepiness May Be More Serious Than You Think

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is one of many sleep disorders which can have severe effects on the daytime quality of a person’s life. The possible consequences of untreated apnea go beyond simple grumpiness or sleepiness. Brain injury, coronary issue and, ultimately, death are all associated with varieties of this disorder. cpap machine

All forms of apnea are characterized by unusual pauses in a sleeping person’s breathing or extended periods of very low breathing. These interruptions can sometimes last more than a minute. They may manifest themselves as snoring, though not all snorers have sleep apnea. The severity of the apnea is generally described in terms of how often these aberrations occur and how profound they are.

What Is Sleep Apnea Caused By?

There are three kinds of apnea. They are obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and mixed apnea. Each of these apnea types arises from distinct causes and presents unique symptoms.

Obstructive apnea is the most common form of this disorder. The soft tissues which make up the airways inside a human body respond to gravity during sleep and can obstruct breathing passages. This sort of apnea actually occurs to many people on occasions throughout their life when they have respiratory infections. However, it is the chronic form of this disorder which requires treatment. The low oxygen levels in the blood that apnea can cause hypoxemia. The resulting sleeplessness is also more dangerous than many people consider, as it can lead to vehicular accidents and other mishaps.

The effects of central apnea can be much more severe than those of obstructive apnea. Whereas the latter is caused by physical phenomena that can be altered or treated directly, central apnea arises from a problem in brain functions. For unknown reasons, the centers in the brain which cause the body to maintain a breathing cycle do not function properly in some people. Chronic sufferers of this form of apnea are at risk of seizures and even heart attacks.

Mixed apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central apnea. Doctors believe that it may occur when untreated obstructive apnea causes changes in the neurological functions which control sleep in humans.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

There are several symptoms that sufferers of apnea may exhibit. Night time symptoms include loud snoring, choking during sleep, frequent awakenings at night and multiple trips to the bathroom to urinate. Waking symptoms include irritability, breathlessness, morning headaches and sleepiness even after spending more than sufficient time in bed.