If these circumstances seem familiar, you may be one of the millions of Americans with sleep apnea, a hazardous medical disease that disrupts sleep. Sleep apnea sufferers may stop breathing hundreds of times a night. Interrupted sleep might make you tired and raise your risk of car accidents and workplace accidents. A decline in mental health may also result in or exacerbate irritation, moodiness, and sadness. Sleep apnea may also cause high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, liver abnormalities, metabolic syndrome, and pharmacological and surgical complications.
Which Two Types of Sleep Apnea Exist?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the throat muscles relax, narrowing the airway as you breathe in. If air shortages lower your blood oxygen level, your brain will wake you up. The majority of sleepers won’t detect this quick response, but they may snort or choke on breath. These responses may occur anywhere between five and thirty times each hour.
While snoring is a typical sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), some OSA patients do not snore.
They may also have morning dry mouth, weariness, headaches, irritability, loss of concentration, nocturnal sweats, frequent urination, and sexual dysfunction.
Central sleep apnea, uncommon, occurs when the brain ceases instructing the breathing muscles, creating small breathing pauses. Some acts may make falling asleep and staying asleep more challenging. Patients may awaken with shortness of breath.
Depending on the kind of sleep apnea, sleep disruptions prevent people from getting the health benefits of Stage 3 deep sleep, which repairs muscles, and Stage 4 rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which boosts short- and long-term memory. This is why a lack of deep and REM sleep may have detrimental long-term effects on health.
Are I at Risk?
25% of men and 10% of women have OSA (central sleep apnea is much less common). While anybody may have the condition, people over 50 and overweight are at higher risk. A familial history of sleep apnea may raise your risk of acquiring the condition. High blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, hormonal problems, asthma, and congestive heart failure increase risk. Lastly, alcohol, cigarettes, sedatives, narcotic pain drugs, and tranquilizer usage may be associated with both forms of sleep apnea.
How to Begin Therapy
If someone in your home can watch you sleep, they should check for sleep apnea signs include stopping breathing or gasping for air. If you are experiencing these symptoms, see a healthcare professional. They may arrange an examination with a sleep expert, who will then send you for a polysomnogram (overnight sleep study). A specialist will assess your heart rate, breathing, airflow, blood oxygen levels, eye movements, and brain and muscle activity while you sleep at a sleep center. You will then obtain a report detailing the frequency of respiratory cessation and disruption throughout a normal sleep cycle. A home sleep test is an alternative method that assesses fewer functions but may nonetheless confirm a diagnosis of sleep apnea. Consult with your healthcare physician to determine the best course of action.
What Therapy Options Exist?
Depending on the severity of your OSA diagnosis, you may be able to treat it with a few adjustments to your lifestyle. Reduced alcohol consumption, weight loss, and cessation of smoking may help minimize sleep apnea.
Some individuals sleep on their side or stomach using nasal sprays and breathing strips to reduce snoring and enhance airflow. A tongue retainer or jaw correction from a dentist may help your sleep expert keep your airway open.
CPAP, which involves sleeping with a mask over the nose and mouth, may be used to treat OSA or central sleep apnea.
These devices keep your airway from shutting while you sleep by employing air pressure to hold up the airway tissues. ASV or BPAP may be used for central sleep apnea if CPAP fails. Nonetheless, heart failure patients should see a doctor before using them.
In situations that do not respond to lifestyle modifications or medical equipment, surgery may be an option.
Modvigil 200(Provigil) and Modalert 200 is used to treat excessive sleepiness in patients with narcolepsy and residual sleepiness in certain cases of sleep apnea. Scientists believe the drug affects the sleep-wake centers in the brain. The most common side effect is a headache.
Surgery of the nose, tongue, palate (the soft tissue at the back of the mouth and throat), or the bones of the face, neck, and jaw are common treatments for OSA. The purpose of tongue surgery is to prevent the tongue from obstructing the airway during sleep when it relaxes. There are several palate procedures, and they all try to open or enlarge the airway.
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) and tonsillectomy (removal of big tonsils blocking the airway) are routine surgeries. Skeletal surgery includes reshaping the jawbone, removing chin bones, and pulling the tongue and neck muscles forward to open the airway.
Nerve stimulator implantation in the chest, similar to a pacemaker, may now treat symptomatic heart failure and central sleep apnea.
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