More than 18 million of people in the United States suffer from some kind of sleep apnea. The two principal forms of sleep apnea include central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. The majority of people suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, and diagnosis is simple but inconvenient, as most people will need to undergo a sleep study to confirm the severity and diagnosis of the apnea. Once the apnea has been diagnosed, the available treatment options are useful don’t require the use of any medications. If you suffer from any type of sleep apnea, click here to know more about the options you have to treat it.
Here are just a few tips on how to deal with sleep apnea
Differentiate obstructive sleep apnea from central sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea: This is far more common than central apnea and is usually caused by direct interference with the passage of air when your throat muscles are relaxed, resulting in irregular breathing.
Signs of obstructive sleep apnea
- The muscles in your throat support structure in your mouth and throat that usually remain open to let the air pass through even while you´re asleep.
- The structures supported by the muscles in your throat include the soft palate, the uvula, tonsils and the tongue.
- When your throat muscles relax too much as you fall asleep, your air passages will block.
- This cause a 10 to 20 seconds lapse of time when the level of oxygen in your blood is not adequate for the amount that your brain needs.
- Your brain wakes you up briefly to restore the passage of air. In several cases, the person won’t remember waking up.
- This can happen as often as 5 to 30 times every hour and continues throughout the night.
Recognize the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea
Some symptoms of OSA might overlap with those of central apnea. In most people, the cause of the problem indicates one of the two possible types. These are a few symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness that might cause to fall asleep at work, while watching television and also having trouble to stay awake while driving.
- Loud snoring
- Waking up with a feeling of shortness of breath, often accompanied by choking, snoring or gasping sound.
- Waking up with headaches
- Difficulty in concentrating during the day
- Having high blood pressure
Causes of central sleep apnea
- Central sleep apnea happens when the brain sends wrong signals to the muscles responsible for regulating your breathing.
- Central sleep apnea is usually less common than OSA and is often related to other medical conditions.
- The most common reasons for central sleep apnea are medical problems associated with cardiovascular problems such as disorders that involve abnormal functioning of your brainstem, heart failures or a stroke record.
- Medications used repeatedly or in large doses can cause this type of sleep apnea. Opiates are the common medications to cause central sleep apnea.
Identify the symptoms of central sleep apnea
- Shortness of breath that wakes you while sleeping
- Shortness of breath that is relieved by changing your position to sitting upright
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
Treating your sleep apnea with lifestyle changes
- Avoid alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Lose weight
- Review your medications with your doctor
- Sleep on your side
- Consider using a CPAP machine or a mouthpiece device
Now that you know the differences between obstructive and central sleep apnea visiting your doctor for a diagnostic and treatment is a good idea to improve and eliminate some symptoms of both conditions. This video provides some exercises for sleep apnea.