Health & Wellness

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen.

Types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes during sleep, causing a blockage of the airway (as well as loud snoring).
  • Central sleep apnea is a much less common type of sleep apnea that involves the central nervous system, rather than an airway obstruction. It occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. People with central sleep apnea seldom snore.
  • Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Am I at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children. Risk factors for sleep apnea include:

  • Male gender
  • Being overweight
  • Being over the age of forty
  • Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)
  • Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone
  • Having a family history of sleep apnea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD
  • Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems 

What Are the Effects of Sleep Apnea?

If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Worsening of ADHD

In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, as well as academic underachievement in children and adolescents.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea 

Common Symptoms include:

  • Loud and chronic snoring
  • Choking, snorting, or gasping during sleep
  • Waking up with a very sore and/or dry throat
  • Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
  • Sleepiness while driving
  • Morning headaches
  • Restless sleep
  • Forgetfulness, mood changes, and a decreased interest in sex
  • Recurrent awakenings or insomnia

If you do suspect that you have Sleep Apnea, it is important that you seek medical advice. There are effect treatments that can make living with Sleep Apnea easier and more manageable, however, if it is left untreated that it can lead to more serious medical conditions.

AMAC, Inc. recommends that you always consult your personal physician before making any health care decisions.

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18 Comments on "What is Sleep Apnea?"

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J D THOMPSON
4 years 5 months ago

I need information ; what is it Thank YOU

Ralph Leatherwood
4 years 6 months ago

I have sleep apnea, and have worn a CPAP since August, 1994, would not be without it, take it everywhere I go, when 1st tested in 1994, my breathing stopped 258 times per night for a period of 10 seconds or longer, for a seven hour sleep cycle, my oxygen level was 47%, after getting the CPAP, my oxygen level came up to 92%, a recent study showed with the CPAP, I was getting 96-98% oxygen. The CPAP has definitely been a life saver for me.

Roy Anderson
4 years 6 months ago

CPAP is a non-pill, non-invasive, safe way to treat apnea. My wife sleeps better now. I sleep better. Our dogs sleep better. I no longer experience the tired, low, depressed feeling. Simply, it works. To answer a previous comment regarding eating right. Though I do agree eating right solves or reduces many of our medical issues – Thin, fat, normal, good, bad, TV watchers, floor sleepers and so many other people have Sleep Apnea. To state eating right is the solution is short sighted and miss leading. Get a sleep study and follow your doctor’s advise. Have a wonderful sleep filled night.

Charlie M
4 years 6 months ago

Used a CPAP 10 years ago and swore I would never use one again. Then 18 months ago my neurologist stated I absolutely must use one. I showed him my old equipment to which he responded that the new equipment was much improved and superior in every way. I now love my CPAP and use it every day . It is a Res Med Escape II. We tried at least 5 masks before we settled on a Res Med FX. Don’t just try 1 or 2 masks as fit, leakage, comfort are all important features that must be matched individually. Also, this CPAP has a heated, adjustable humidifier.

lashee
4 years 6 months ago

I have a CPAP machine and yes it takes getting used to and the settings are crucial to each person. I wish i had this many years ago. Sleep Apena is a silent killer and will cause many men to find an early grave. This technology will continue to get better and men using this treatment will continue to live longer and more productive lives.

ken eaton
4 years 6 months ago

MOST OF THIS PROBLEM CAN BE SOLVED BY RAISING THE LEVEL OF THE HEAD AND GOOD EATING HABITS. THE GOOD EATING HABITS WILL ALSO HELP TO SOLVE OTHER PROBLEMS
HINT: READ “EAT TO LIVE” BY JOEL FUHRMAN M. D.

Chet
4 years 3 months ago

would that this were so, But it’s simply not true!

Leon
4 years 3 months ago

@thisispeace There really is no pmnraneet fix for any form of sleep apnoea I’m afraid, at least not in the sense of one fix for all . There are many causes of OSA, floppy tongues only being one of them. There are only remedies and therapies, CPAP being the most common and most widely successful. If you are fortunate enough to have a cause that can be remedied by surgery, then that’s a good thing, but it won’t work for everyone.

Bob Benjamin
4 years 6 months ago
I have been on a CPAP machine more than 10 years and have tried several masks. I am a mouth breather and recommend the full face mask in that case, one that covers the nose and mouth. I use the ResMed Quotro and it works fine. Adding a humidifier may help a lot, too. And getting a mask where the tubing connects at the middle front of the mask enables it to swivel 360 degrees…so the tubing won’t get in your way! All that being said, Im sure not all patients and their conditions are the same. One added note: I think it is important to ask the MD treating you if they are board certified in Sleep Medicine. I.m not sure all pulmonologists and neurologists are! As indicated by this article, sleep apnea can be a life- threatening. ..so I believe that extra training should be important! Pleasant dreams!
Shirley Fisher
4 years 6 months ago

I am not a professional!

But for me the very simple answer is not to sleep on my back or to sleep in an almost sitting position with the head of the bed raised on 12″ blocks or sleep in a recliner.

Raising the head with pillows is not very effective. Both of these simple options have worked for me for several years.

Glory
4 years 6 months ago

I also went through the Sleep Study and was told I have Sleep Apnea and needed to wear a mask and have a CPAP machine. I tried the nasal pillows and find I wake up many times throughout the night. I was thinking of changing to a nasal mask to see how it works. But the devices line the Zquiet applience or dental plate seem like a good thing to try. I had to use a bite plate and will see if I have any noticeable results.

Frank
4 years 6 months ago

I tried several configurations of the masks before settling on the nasal pillow option. While I do wake occasionally to reposition the air hose during the night, I’m sleeping more soundly than I have in decades and waking alert and refreshed. Wish I had done this YEARS ago!!

Stan Gray
4 years 6 months ago

The problem I have is , I am not able to adjust to the breathing devices. I get even less sleep while wearing one of those, and I have tried two differant ones.

John Vitko
4 years 6 months ago

I am in the beginnings of this sleet stuff. I went through the sleep study and was told by a pulmonary dr. that I need a cpap device. She also told me that there is an appliance that is fitted into the mouth by a dentist. It adjust the jaw forward. I like the details of the one fitted into the mouth, seems to be a little better. I have not tried that one yet. There are issues with health insurance paying for the device.

George Meinel
4 years 6 months ago
For those who are considering a simple solution to sleep apnea without a Cpac, I purchased a special plastic mouth piece from Zquiet.com. I have been wearing it every night for over two years, and it has worked from night one! My wife has been getting good nights of rest ever since and makes sure I have it with me whenever we travel. I now have two of these Zquiet mouthpieces, just in case anything happens to my original. I ordered my first one on-line and they charge me about $10 for a 30 day trial. If you don’t return it within 30 days, they charge you another $60 for the full price including S&H. I highly recommend this mouth piece and wouldn’t bother with a dentist fitted one which I understand cost upwards of $300.00 I hope this review helps a lot of people out there instead of more… Read more »
Syllas
4 years 1 month ago

My auntie uses a mchiane to help her breath because she also has sleep apnea. She’s very heavy and has been put on a diet by her doctor. Weight has a lot to do with it. You may want to start eating healthier so you don’t have more health problems. But I think you’re beautiful and I love your show.

Don Roos
4 years 6 months ago

It seems that I have all of the above symptoms but I have no insurance and have no desire to try a cpap. Are there any OTC remedies that have proven effective that I might try? (cheap)

Carol
4 years 6 months ago

My husband snored fiercely. I couldn’t sleep it was so bad. Got an OTC spray called SNORE STOP. All he has
to do is spray 2 or 3 times in the back of his throat. For him it worked. Only problem now is getting hin to cooperate
on using it before falling asleep instead of trying to wake him up to do it. Wish he’d just do it as a part of the night
routine. Is terrible for the spouse!! I got it at a grocery store but have seen at Walgreens/Walmart for a better price.
I would imagine you could fine it online even cheaper. SNORE STOP.
Hope it works for you.

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