About Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea Causes and Symptoms
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing is interrupted, repeatedly stopping and starting again during sleep.
Sleep apnea symptoms
The most common signs of sleep apnea are excessive daytime sleepiness and snoring.
Snoring is also a sign of sleep apnea. The patient will snore and the noise gets increasingly louder and loudest at the end of the snore interval. This occurs because the body is attempting to clear the airway and allow more oxygen, essentially the patient is gasping for air.
Many sleep apnea patients fall asleep when performing routine activities such as reading, watching TV, sitting, or in the car. While this may seem normal to some people, sleep apnea patients experience this much more frequently than others. For example, college students with sleep apnea may find it difficult to stay awake in class or when studying. Adults with sleep apnea may find themselves constantly fighting sleepiness at work or while driving.
Sleep Apnea Causes
While anyone can have sleep apnea, it is more common among people who are overweight and have a smaller airway (nose, throat, mouth). Sleep apnea is about twice as likely to occur in men than women. Most people diagnosed are middle aged, however this may be because the spouse hears the loud snoring of the patient brings it to attention.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can be diagnosed by a sleep specialist. A sleep test is necessary to confirm and diagnose sleep apnea. Sleep tests are conducted at sleep centers using a device that measures brain activity, eye movement muscle activity, breathing rate and heart rate, and percent of oxygen in your blood.
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There are two types of sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea and Central sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and occurs when your throat muscles and/or tongue muscles relax more than normal and block your airway.
Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn't send signals to the muscles that control breathing.