Sleep apnea, a common and serious sleep disorder is affecting millions of Americans causing you to stop breathing during sleep. The airway repeatedly becomes blocked, limiting the amount of air that reaches your lungs. When this happens, you may snore loudly or make choking noises as you try to breathe … Your brain and body becomes oxygen deprived and you may wake up. This may happen a few times a night, or in more severe cases, several hundred times a night.
Seeking immediate treatment and evaluation for sleep apnea symptoms is essential. If left untreated the condition can cause weakened immune system responses, inflammation, spikes in blood pressure, depression and diabetes.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
During sleep, the muscles in the throat that control the soft palate, uvula, throat, and tongue can relax so much that your airway becomes obstructed when you attempt to inhale. Obstructive sleep apnea reduces the amount of oxygen intake causing oxygenated blood levels to drop to dangerous levels. This drop-in oxygen signals the brain causing frequent waking during the night interrupting regular sleep patterns.
- Constant sleepiness
- Snoring, choking, coughing during sleep
- Mouth breathing
- Trouble concentrating
- Frequent night urination
- Hyper and irritable behavior
Obstructive sleep apnea can develop over time or it can be caused by genetics or lifestyle changes so paying close attention to the risk factors and symptoms of the condition can be vital. If you were born with a narrow neck or a naturally narrowed airway, any relaxation of your throat muscles during sleep could potentially cause an issue. Men and people older than the age of forty are also at higher risk of developing sleep apnea. If you drink, smoke, have allergies or are overweight you are also at high risk for the condition.
Central Sleep Apnea
Though diagnosed less often than obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea poses many of the same health and sleep risks. Central sleep apnea occurs when the central nervous system, signals that command the involuntary inhale and exhale actions, are interrupted periodically during sleep. Central sleep apnea interferes with restful sleep causing regular waking through the night.
- Intermittent or chronic insomnia
- Irregular breathing
- Chest pain
- Mood swings
- Headaches / Migraines
- Extreme fatigue
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome
Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome
This sleep apnea condition also goes by the names treatment-emergent central sleep apnea and mixed sleep apnea. This condition is diagnosed when both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea are present. When suffering from complex sleep apnea it is normal for symptoms of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea to be present. Careful diagnosis is required to properly treat the complex condition.
- Paused breathing during sleep
- Mood swings/behavioral changes
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
If you have sleep apnea you most likely feel extreme daytime fatigue. You may experience regular episodes of shortness of breath and find yourself breathing primarily through your mouth. A common sign of sleep apnea is snoring, gasping and frequent waking during the night. You may experience spurts of manic or hyperactive energy or a foggy feeling during the day. Sleep apnea can affect mood levels and trigger depression or periods of irritability. The condition negatively impacts your cognitive skills and can also cause regular headaches and sore throat.
Why is it important to get treatment for sleep apnea?
Your body and brain rely on the downtime during your regular sleeping hours to repair and regenerate as you rest. While you sleep your body generates cytokines, a building block of your immune system, that keep you healthy and safe from avoidable conditions. Without proper sleep, the body’s ability to build a strong immune defense is compromised leaving you open for serious disease and degeneration.
Can sleep apnea be fatal?
In short answer, yes. Prolonged untreated sleep apnea affects the body’s major organs like the heart, brain, and kidneys and deprives the rest of the body of oxygen. Sleep apnea can slowly breakdown the body and put it at risk for fatal conditions. The cognitive and behavioral symptoms of sleep apnea can also increase the risk of accidents and trauma.
Is there effective treatment for sleep apnea?
Yes! At Breathe Well Central Oregon, we specialize in offering patients a natural and surgery-free path to sleeping well and breathing well. Our sleep apnea treatment program utilizes Craniofacial Epigenetics and Pneumopedics® science to develop customized solutions for your unique needs. Using thorough diagnostics, oral appliance therapy, and myofunctional therapy, reduces and eliminates sleep apnea symptoms and increases regular deep sleep. There is effective treatment available for sleep apnea, become a Breathe Well Central Oregon sleep apnea success story today.