Sleep apnea is a potential disorder of serious sleep in which breathing repeatedly starts and stops. If you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep then you might have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea may be classified into the following three categories:
Obstructive sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs more commonly when your throat muscles relax.
Central sleep apnea:
Central sleep apnea occurs more commonly when your brain does not send proper signals to the muscle controlling breathing.
Complex sleep apnea syndrome:
Treatment-emergent central sleep apnea is the other term used for complex sleep apnea syndrome. This type of sleep apnea occurs commonly in people who suffer from both central and obstructive sleep apnea.
If you think you have sleep apnea then consider seeing a doctor. Sleep apnea treatment can help in relieving the symptoms of sleep apnea and help in preventing heart problems and other complications.
Symptoms of sleep apnea
The symptoms and signs of central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea sometimes overlap making it difficult to determine. However, the most common symptoms of central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea are as follows:
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Loud snoring
- Morning headache
- Difficulty in paying attention while awake
- Awakening with a dry mouth
- Hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness)
- Insomnia (difficulty staying asleep)
- An episode in which you stop breathing while sleeping –this would be reported by another person.
The doctor may evaluate the symptoms and ask for a sleep history. Following this, the doctor may likely refer you to a sleep disorder center. A sleep specialist will evaluate to determine your condition. He will monitor you overnight at the sleep center and check your breathing and other body function while you are asleep. Another option is a home sleeping test. The following are a few tests to detect sleep apnea:
The doctor will hook you to devices that help in monitoring your lung, heart, and brain activity, leg and arm movements, breathing patterns, and blood oxygen level. This test will be done while you are sleeping.
Home sleep tests:
The doctor will provide you with simplified tests to diagnose sleep apnea at home. This test will measure your blood oxygen level, heart rate, airflow, and breathing patterns.
If you have a mild case of sleep apnea then the doctor might only recommend changing your lifestyle such as quitting smoking and losing weight. Also, if you have nasal allergies, the doctor might recommend treatment to ease your allergies. However, if all these measures do not help the symptoms of sleep apnea then the doctor might use the following different treatments to cure them.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP):
This device helps in delivering air pressure through a mask while you are asleep.
Other airway pressure:
The auto-CPAP device helps in delivering air pressure but this device automatically adjusts the pressure while you are asleep.
This device helps in keeping your throat open. However, using CPAP is more reliably effective than oral appliances.