Persons with sleep apnea may stop breathing hundreds of times per night, and consequently, sleep is very disturbed. The brain repeatedly lightens sleep in order to tighten throat muscles so breathing can resume. The normal sleep cycle is inhibited. This can make the person fatigued and sleepy throughout the daytime hours.
The typical scenario is:
- The person drifts off to sleep.
- The tongue, excess throat tissue, or relaxed throat muscles block the airway during sleep.
- Breathing stops or is reduced for least 10 seconds, and sometimes for up to several minutes.
- The body struggles for air, the oxygen level in the blood drops --- and the brain says, "Wake Up!"
- Breathing resumes for four or five breaths until the oxygen levels rise.
- The person drifts into deeper sleep - and the whole process repeats itself.
- The most obvious result of sleep apnea is daytime fatigue and sleepiness.
- There are other serious problems associated with sleep apnea, however.
- These include an increased motor vehicle accident rate, and increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
There are 3 types of Sleep Apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Loud snoring followed by a breathless pause.... ending with a gasp or snort*.
- Restless movements during sleep
- Impotence or loss of sex drive
- Problems with memory and concentration
- High blood pressure
- Extreme fatigue or sleepiness caused by disturbed sleep
- The use of alcohol and sleeping pills can make this condition worse.
Central Sleep Apnea
- People with central sleep apnea may not snore.
- It usually affects adults over age 60.
- The brain "forgets" to tell the breathing muscles to move.
- The lack of oxygen causes the brain to wake the sleeping person.
- Then breathing resumes.
- The person may remember waking, but not remember why.
Mixed Sleep Apnea
This involves brief periods of central sleep apnea followed by longer periods of obstructive sleep apnea.
It is more common than purely central sleep apnea.
If you have Answered yes to any of the issues below then talk to us today!
- Are you a loud and/or regular snorer?
- Have you been observed to gasp or stop breathing during sleep?
- Do you feel tired or groggy upon awakening, or do you awaken with a headache?
- Are you often tired or fatigued during the wake time hours?
- Do you fall asleep sitting, reading,watching TV or driving?
- Do you often have problems with memory or concentration?