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Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing stops and starts during sleep. When you discover that you snore loudly and feel very tired after a full night’s sleep, chances are that you have sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnae Causes and Symptoms

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two major types of Sleep apnea, they include;

1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea: According to WHO, Obstructive sleep apnoea is a clinical disorder marked by frequent pauses in breathing during sleep usually accompanied by loud snoring. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. Its occurrence is more common than the other form of apnea.

2. Central Sleep Apnea: Unlike the obstructive sleep apnoea, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control centre.

3. Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome: This is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnoea and occurs when someone has both symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea and central sleep apnoea.

Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea

  1. Age: Individuals above 40 years are at risk of having any of the two types of sleep apnoea.
  2. Sex: Various researches has shown that males are at greater risk of having sleep apnoea than females.
  3. Obesity: Excess fat deposit especially in the neck region is a predisposing factor of sleep apnoea. Males with neck size of 17 inches and females with neck size of 16 inches are at great risk.
  4. Nasal obstruction due to allergies
  5. Family History

Signs and Symptoms of Symptoms

Obstructive and central sleep apnoea can have common signs and symptoms which in some cases could be difficult for you to know which type you have. The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea include:

  1. Snoring
  2. Restlessness during sleep,
  3. Frequent night time awakenings
  4. Sudden awakenings with a sensation of gasping or choking
  5. Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening
  6. Cognitive impairment, such as trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, or irritability
  7. Mood disturbances (depression or anxiety)
  8. Night sweats
  9. Sexual dysfunction
  10. Fatigue

Negative Effects of Sleep Apnea

When you discover you have sleep apnea, please seek for medical care because If left untreated can increase the risk of health problems including:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Stroke
  3. Heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks
  4. Diabetes
  5. Depression
  6. Worsening of ADHD
  7. Headaches
  8. Poor response to daily activities

Treatment of Sleep Apnea

The disease can impact on the quality of life but can be easily managed. One of the treatments is continuous positive airway pressure, which forces air through a mask into the airways so that they do not close.

Also, treatment could entail lifestyle changes, such as weight loss. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for good health.

References: WHO, Cleveland, WebMD and Mayoclinic.

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