Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing while you sleep. These interrupted pauses in breathing may occur up to over 30 times an hour, and often last from a few seconds to minutes. Typically, normal breathing begins again with loud snoring or even choking noises. As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, making for excessive daytime tiredness. Studies show that 85% of those suffering from sleep apnea remain undiagnosed and untreated.
There are three different types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): This is the most common type of sleep apnea and occurs because the airway becomes obstructed, preventing an adequate flow of air.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): This type of sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not send the proper signal to the muscles to take a breath while sleeping.
Mixed Sleep Apnea: This type of sleep apnea occurs when both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea are present.
Mild OSA: The patient experiences 5-14 episodes of interrupted breathing in an hour.
Moderate OSA: The patient experiences 15-30 episodes of interrupted breathing in an hour.
Severe OSA: The patient experiences 30 or more interrupted breathing episodes within an hour.
The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea include:
There are many different factors that can cause sleep apnea. These include:
Lifestyle Changes – In some cases, lifestyle modifications may be the most appropriate way for you to treat sleep apnea. Exercising, weight loss, avoidance of alcohol and sleeping on your side may relieve sleep apnea symptoms.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) – CPAP devices are effective in treating sleep apnea if you have moderate to severe sleep apnea. A CPAP device is worn while the patient is sleeping and provides consistent air pressure through a mask, keeping the airway open. CPAP is the most common and reliable method of treating sleep apnea, however many people find it cumbersome or uncomfortable to use, and look for alternatives.
Oral Appliances – Another non-invasive sleep apnea treatment option is to wear an oral appliance. Oral appliances are designed to keep your throat open by bringing your jaw forward and stabilizing your tongue, which may relieve mild obstructive sleep apnea.
Surgery – Surgery is usually an option after other sleep apnea treatments have failed. The goal of surgery is to enlarge the airway through your nose and/or throat, correcting any anatomical problems that are causing airway obstruction.
Surgical options may include:
If you or your loved one appears to be suffering from sleep apnea, it is important to get diagnosed and treated, as sleep apnea can be life threatening. Dr. Prabhat Soni has years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. A sleep study could improve your health, and even save your life. Schedule an appointment today to get the restful night's sleep you deserve.