Sleep apnea is when a person’s breathing continuously stops and resumes while sleeping. Daytime tiredness, loud snoring, and restless sleep are all symptoms.
Usually, people with sleep apnea also have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sleep Apnea(SA) occurs due to a physical blockage in the upper airway. Another kind, central sleep apnea (CSA), is caused by a neural system signaling issue.
One will stop breathing if the airway closes and the signal is not received. This will occasionally happen during sleep, but it will recur repeatedly if not use sleep apnea pillow. They may snore, take a big breath, or awaken with a sense of gasping, smothering, or choking when they breathe again.
Sleep apnea, if left uncared for, can lead to depression and heart disease. It can also cause drowsiness, increasing the risk of driving or working accidents.
This article will learn more about the symptoms, treatment, and other factors when dealing with sleep apnea.
Symptoms of sleep apnea
Someone with sleep apnea is not usually aware of this condition until another person observes while they are asleep.
The General symptom includes:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Gasping for breath
- Loud snore
The significantly visible symptoms of the individual include:
- decreased libido and erectile dysfunction
- difficulty concentrating
- sore throat
Causes of sleep apnea
Various factors can contribute to the blocking or collapse of the airway. They include the following:
- thickened tissues and additional fat stores around the airway
- nasal congestion
- lax muscles and other tissues in the mouth and throat
- an underlying neurological problem
These can result from:
- thyroid problems
- swollen tonsils
- kidney or heart failure
- genetic factors
- colds and allergies
Treatment of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea treatment aims to normalize breathing during sleep and address any underlying health problems. The options will depend on the cause and severity of the symptoms.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy
Surgery is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. It keeps the airway open by gently delivering a constant stream of positive pressure air through a mask.
Some patients find CPAP challenging to tolerate and stop using it before noticing any long-term benefits. However, several things can be done to make the equipment more comfortable, and the adjusting process goes more smoothly.
The mask’s settings and appearance can be altered. Nasal issues can be alleviated by moistening the air passing through the mask.
- Lifestyle therapy
Normalizing breathing requires lifestyle changes, which are critical first stages in treating sleep apnea. Self-care may be the best method for you to deal with obstructive sleep apnea in many circumstances.
- developing healthy sleeping habits
- following a heart-healthy diet
- quitting smoking
- managing weight
- limiting alcohol consumption
- Lose weight if you’re overweight: If you’re overweight or obese, even a tiny amount of weight loss can assist reduce airway tightness. Losing weight can enhance your health and quality of life and help you sleep better throughout the day.
- Exercise regularly: Exercising, such as aerobic and weight training, can help you get in better shape. Aim for 200 minutes of activity every week, and aim to exercise on most days of the week.
- Use an allergy medication or nasal decongestant.
- Don’t sleep on your back: Instead of sleeping on your back, try sleeping on your side or stomach. When you sleep on your back, your tongue and soft palate might lay against the back of your throat, obstructing your airway.
- Avoid taking sedative medications such as sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs.
- Avoid alcohol and medications such as anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills. Alcohol, anti-anxiety medications, and some sleeping pills can worsen obstructive sleep apnea and sleepiness.
- To prevent sleeping on your back, try sewing a tennis ball in the back of your pajama top or place pillows behind you while you sleep on your side.
While sleeping, keep your nasal passages open. Use a saline nasal spray to keep your nasal passages open if you have congestion. Consult your doctor before using nasal decongestants or antihistamines, as some treatments may only be prescribed for a short period.
People with OSA might have their airways widened through various surgical treatments. Excess or larger tonsils can be removed, or obstructive tissue can be stiffened or shrunk.
MRD (mandibular repositioning device) is a custom-made oral appliance for those who have mild to moderate OSA.
During sleep, the mouthpiece holds the jaw forward to widen the space below the tongue. This keeps the upper airway open and prevents snoring and apnea.
An MRD’s side effects could include worsening temporomandibular joint dysfunction and jaw pain.
Some medications may be helpful, but only after consulting a sleep specialist. Here are some examples:
These, however, may have serious side effects and are not fit for everyone.
When to see a doctor
Sleep apnea has been linked to various health problems, including the inability to concentrate, depression, heart attack, and stroke. It may also increase the risk of hypertension.
Although the link between the two disorders isn’t always evident, anyone with sleep apnea should get medical help because it could suggest an underlying issue.
Although the person may be unaware of their sleep apnea, a sleeping partner or another household member may notice it and alert them.
If these steps don’t help you sleep better or your apnea is moderate to severe, your doctor may suggest alternative therapies. A clogged airway can be supported with the use of specific devices. In some circumstances, surgery is required.
Because of the high occurrence of sleep apnea in heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias, doctors advise that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
If you think you could have obstructive sleep apnea, you’ll probably start by seeing your primary care physician. Your doctor may recommend a sleep specialist.
Avoid driving if you’re drowsy. Daytime tiredness might increase your risk of a car accident if you have obstructive sleep apnea. Schedule rest breaks to stay safe. Avoid driving if a close friend or family member tells you you appear sleepier than you feel.