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 the condition. 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 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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I need information ; what is it Thank YOU

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!!

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.

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)