The serious sleep disorder occurring when the breathing of a person gets interrupted at the time of sleep is known as Sleep Apnea. When sleep apnea remains, untreated people stop breathing repeatedly at the time of their sleep, sometimes a lot of times. It simply means that the brain along with the rest of the body doesn’t adequate oxygen.
Sleep apnea can be characterized in mainly two types:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Common one among two apnea forms get caused through the airway blockage, typically when soft tissue present in the throat’s backside collapses at the time of sleep.
Central sleep apnea: This is unlike the OSA, as here the airway doesn’t have blockage, but brain doesn’t send signal to the muscles for breathing because of any instability in the respiratory control center.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The symptoms of both the sleep apnea conditions are overlapping, and sometimes it becomes difficult to determine the type that you’ve got. The common symptoms and signs of central and obstructive sleep apneas are:
- Gasping for air in sleep
- Loud snoring
- Difficulty in remaining asleep
- Difficulty in concentration while being awake
- Excessive sleepiness at daytime (hypersomnia)
- Morning Headache
- Awakening with dry mouth
How to Assess Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect people at all ages, and also children. The risk factors present for sleep apnea are:
- Being overweight
- Being male
- Being over the age of 40
- Having a large neck size (for women – 16 inch or more and for men 17 inches or more)
- Family History
- Obstruction of nasal passage due to sinus, allergies, and deviated septum.
Several Risk Factors
The terrible condition of sleep apnea affects anyone, also children. However, the risk gets significantly increased with various factors such as:
Circumference of Neck: People having necks thick sizes might have narrowed out airways.
Being a male: Compared to women, men are lot more likely to catch sleep apnea. However, being overweight, women heighten their risk factor and after menopause, the risk even becomes a lot more.
Alcohol use, use of sedatives, tranquilizers or sedatives – All these substances can relax muscles in the throat, which might lead to worsening of obstructive sleep apnea.
Smoking: Compared to nonsmokers the smokers have the risk of developing sleep apnea three times higher. Smoking leads to an increase in fluid retention and inflammation in upper airway.
Various Medical Conditions: High blood pressure, congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes are a few conditions that lead to higher risk obstructive sleep apnea risk.
Hormonal disorders, Polycystic ovary syndrome, prior stroke and chronic lung diseases like asthma can also lead to increased risk.
Central Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
In such type of sleep apnea, the various risk factors include:
Being male: Compared to women central sleep apnea condition is a lot more common.
Stroke: People who have suffered through stroke have higher central sleep apnea risk and central sleep apnea that is treatment-emergent.
Complications caused in Day to day life
With the terrible condition of sleep apnea there can be various medical complications such as:
Fatigue at Daytime: Repeated awakenings because of recurring sleep apnea hamper restorative sleep leading to fatigue, daytime drowsiness and more likely irritability.
Also concentrating can become more difficult and you might also catch sleep during work or while driving. People with this condition can also become moody, depressed or quick tempered. Adolescents and children having sleep apnea don’t perform well in the school or also have problems associated with their behavior.
Metabolic Syndrome – The disorder can lead to abnormal cholesterol, high blood pressure, higher heart disease risk, etc.
Liver Problems – Sleep apnea patients are a lot more likely to get abnormal outcomes for liver function tests, and their livers have higher chances of showing scarring signs (fatty liver).
Medication and surgery complications – The disorder is also a major concern as it can interfere with various medications along with general anesthesia. Sleep apnea patients are a lot more likely to develop complications after surgeries as they become more prone to breathing issues, mainly when they’re sedated and are lying on the backside.
Sleep deprivation partners – With loud snoring you can keep anyone sleeping near you from getting rest. It wouldn’t be uncommon for any partner to visit another room or floor to sleep.
When it’s Time to Visit a Doctor
Loud Snoring indicates issues that are potentially serious, but not everyone having this condition develops snoring. You can consult your physician if you’re developing any sleep apnea signs and symptoms. You can clear your doubts with your doctor regarding any type of sleep issue that results in fatigue, less sleep and irritability.