What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. This happens when the muscles in the throat fail to keep the airway open, leading to a temporary pause in breathing. These pauses can last for several seconds and can happen multiple times per night, leading to low-quality sleep, oxygen deprivation, and a range of other health problems.
There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, and it occurs when the muscles in the throat relax and block the airway. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles in control of breathing. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both types.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The symptoms of sleep apnea can vary from person to person, but some common signs include:
- Loud snoring
- Pauses in breathing during sleep
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Waking up with a sore or dry throat
- Morning headaches
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood changes, such as irritability or depression
- High blood pressure
- Night sweats
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s essential to talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist. They can help you determine if you have sleep apnea and create a treatment plan to manage your symptoms.