Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects people when their breathing gets interrupted during sleep. A person suffering from sleep apnea stops breathing several times in their sleep, which can cause them to not receive enough oxygen.

Main Causes of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can affect anyone, from young children to older people. You can suffer from this condition if any of the following are true for you:

  • If you are obese or overweight
  • If you are a male
  • If you are over 40 years of age
  • If you have a family history of sleep apnea
  • If you have a large neck – 17 inches or more for men and 16 inches or more for women
  • If you have large tonsils or a large tongue
  • If you have small jawbones
  • If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn
  • If you have sinus problems, allergies, or a deviated septum that can cause nasal obstructions

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – This is the most common form of sleep apnea. It is caused by blockage of the airway when sleeping, the result of the collapsing of the soft tissue at the back of the throat.
  • Central Sleep Apnea – This type occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. It generally occurs due to an instability in the control center of the respiratory system.

Effects of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea, if left untreated, can cause a lot of issues. On a daily basis, it can reduce your performance in everyday activities. It can also cause long-term health problems, including the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attacks, heart failure, and irregular heartbeats
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Treating Sleep Apnea

Mild cases of sleep apnea can be treated by making modifications to your lifestyle:

  • You will have to lose weight.
  • You will have to stop consuming alcohol.
  • You should avoid taking sleeping pills.
  • You should stop smoking. Smoking worsens the swelling in the upper airway, causing increased snoring.
  • You should change your sleeping position to improve your breathing. Avoid sleeping on your back, because this blocks your airway further.

Severe cases of sleep apnea can be treated by therapy or surgery:

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy – This is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. In CPAP therapy, you will have to sleep wearing a mask over your nose and mouth. A machine attached to the mask will keep supplying air to the nose. The continuous flow of air will ensure that the airways are open throughout and that your breathing is regular.
  • Surgery – Nasal surgery is the most common surgery performed to correct sleep apnea. It rectifies nasal problems like a deviated septum. Mandibular maxillar advancement surgery corrects throat obstructions. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) removes soft tissues at the back of the throat and palate to increase the width of the airway.

Learn More Today

Suffering from sleep apnea? The Snore Experts can help! To address your sleep apnea, contact us today and arrange an informative consultation.