What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
According to a survey of over 440,000 United States citizens that was conducted by the centers for disease control and prevention, about 35% Of those people found themselves to be getting under seven hours of sleep per night. While this may seem shocking to some, sleep disorders are fairly common throughout today’s society And should always be taken very seriously when considering how to properly treat sad disorders. When it comes to receiving too little sleep, One may experience heightened risk for conditions such as cardiovascular disease, mental disorders, obesity, fluctuating blood pressure, and diabetes.
There are two different variations of sleep apnea, and both are caused by different factors within one’s body. Obstructive sleep apnea, OSA, occurs when there is some sort of stoppage within the airway. And example of this is when the soft tissue that is located within the back of one of his throat subsides during a sleep cycle.
Central sleep apnea, or CSA, occurs when there is no signal sent between the muscles and the brain, causing the body to fail to breathe. OSA is much more common than its counterpart, but both are quite prevalent today.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, your breathing pauses for brief periods while you are asleep. Normally, when you breathe in, air flows in through your mouth and nose and down your throat (also called the pharynx). Air then flows down your windpipe, or trachea, spreading through a tree-like structure of smaller tubes into your lungs. Each time you breathe in, negative suction pressure pulls the soft tissues in your mouth and pharynx inward. The muscles in your pharynx respond by pulling the soft tissues outward again, which keeps your airway open when you sleep.
It’s normal for your muscles, mouth, tongue and pharynx to relax ever-so-slightly, but not enough to block your airway. If you are indeed affected by obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles of your mouth and pharynx may relax too much, causing those muscles to drop and press against the back of your throat. This completely blocks the flow of air into your lungs, leading to the lack of oxygen in your lungs waking you up. You may find yourself gasping for air to reestablish airflow before falling asleep again. This vicious cycle may happen many times at night- preventing restful sleep.
Factors that may contribute to obstructive sleep apnea include (but are not limited to):
1. Obesity– Due to more fat may be present in the walls of the pharynx
2. A Small or Receiving Jaw with a Narrow Airway
3. Loss of Muscle Tone in your Pharynx Due to Aging
4. Swollen Tonsils
Common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include chronic daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability, and impaired concentration throughout the day. Left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease, irregular heartbeats (called “arrhythmias”), stroke and diabetes.
The following is a detailed list of all of the known signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, experienced by about 22 million Americans per year:
Insomnia: one may find themselves waking up frequently throughout the night and not being able to stay asleep, causing them to lose precious rest. Once one finally falls asleep, they might not be able to stay asleep for a long period of time.
Snoring: This is usually caused by a blockage within the airway of one’s respiratory system, creating a loud and often unpleasant sound. This symptom is very common throughout the American population, with about 40% of men and 23% of women over the age of 18 affected by it.
Decrease in memory and sexual desire: While these two areas of one’s life may not seem directly correlated to the amount of sleep that one receives, it has been proven that sleep apnea can bring about a stern decrease in one’s sex drive, as well as in one’s ability to remember both short-term and long-term events.
Decrease in energy: just as sleep apnea may bring about restlessness during the evening, those who are affected by sleep apnea on a regular basis often find themselves feeling very drained during daylight hours. This could have a potentially fatal effect if one decides to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while being sleep deprived.
Sweating: This is a natural response by your body, caused by the lack of rest that it is receiving.
Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to treat your sleep apnea, including losing weight, sleeping on your side, not smoking, and avoiding substances that can make you sleepy such as alcohol and sedatives. For mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea, an oral appliance may keep your airway open enough to the point where one is able to regain their desire sleep schedule. This device works by pulling your jaw forward, and moving both your tongue and the roof of your mouth away from the back of your throat. The most common and effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine. This machine pumps air through a tube into a mask that fits over your nose, or both your nose and mouth. The mild air pressure of the CPAP machine helps keep your airway open- enabling you to get a deep restful sleep.