What is Sleep Apnea?

September 9, 2019

What is sleep apnea?

Have you heard about Sleep Apnea and just want to know more? Think you or someone else has it and just want to know more? Here is some important information to help you along your path.

Keep in mind, that often, then most helpful thing is to talk to people who have also been through the process of discovering what is wrong with them. Talking to a therapist with years of experience (some of our therapists are even using CPAP therapy themselves) will help you determine the best course of action.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a disorder of breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea do not get enough oxygen during sleep. There are 2 major types.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common type and is due to an obstruction (collapse) of the airway during sleep. During an obstructive apnea the effort to breathe is present, but no air movement occurs. Bed partners notice pauses approx.10 to 60 seconds between loud snores. The narrowing of the upper airway can be a result of several factors including inherent physical characteristics, excess weight, and alcohol consumption before sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea is quite uncommon and is a result of a signal failure between your brain and the respiratory system. The effort to breathe just stops. As with obstructive sleep apnea the oxygen level drops significantly.

With both obstructive and central apnea you must wake up briefly to breathe, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. Usually there is no memory of these brief awakenings.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Loud snoring
  • Lack of energy
  • Morning headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Large neck size
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Nighttime gasping, choking or coughing
  • Gastric reflux
  • Unrefreshed sleep
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Reduced libido
  • Restless sleep
  • Nocturnal snorting, gasping, choking (may wake self up)

If you need help or suspect a loved one may be suffering from sleep apnea, please print our referral form and take it to your family doctor.