Monday, 21 May 2018

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea: Symptoms, Causes, Effects and Treatment     

Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea: yawn

Frequent pauses of breathing(apnea) during sleep

Choking or gasping during sleep to get air into the lungs

Loud snoring

Sudden awakenings to restart breathing

Waking in a sweat during the night

Feeling tired and not rested in the morning

Headaches, sore throat, or dry mouth in the mornings after waking

Daytime sleepiness

 Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea 

Shape of the head or neck may create a small airway

Larger tonsils or adenoids

Obese or overweight

Throat muscles and tongue relax during sleep creating an obstruction in airway

Snoring causes the soft palate to get longer causing obstruction


Nasal congestion, blockages and irritations

Family History of sleep apnea

Other disorders or syndromes or physical conditions that block or obstruct airways during sleep

Effects of Sleep Apnea to the Body

If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing during sleep, and the oxygen levels decrease causing oxygen deprivation.  This imbalance in your body stimulates the brain to restart the breathing process.  The brain sends the signal to wake up so the oxygen can enter the airway. These waking signals save your life but they also make you sleep deprived.

Sleep deprivation and oxygen deprivation are the biggest concerns with sleep apnea.  The person with sleep apnea and the sleeping partner are experiencing sleep deprivation.  Problems associated with sleep deprivation include but are not limited to: poor mental and emotional health, irritability, driving accidents, depression, slower reaction time and may lower the quality of life.

Oxygen deprivation problems include heart disease, stroke, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, sexual dis function, memory problems and sometimes other health risks depending on the severity of the apnea.

 Diagnosing Sleep ApneaCPAP and Mask

If you believe you are experiencing sleep apnea, talk to your Doctor about your symptoms.  If a sleep disorder is suspected, your doctor will refer you to a sleep specialist for evaluation.  An overnight diagnostic sleep study (a polysomnogram, or PSG) is used to determine the type and severity of the disorder, as well as appropriate treatment. 

If it is determined that you have sleep apnea you will be prescribed Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy.  This PAP therapy gently blows air into your nose and/or mouth to prevent your airway from collapsing.  This PAP therapy comes in two forms Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) meaning the air is a continuous pressure, or Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) meaning two levels of air pressure.  This equipment is an  effective treatment to sleep apnea.  It is available through PaO2 Home Medical Equipment with a Doctor's prescription.