Sleep apnea is a severe sleeping disorder that causes a person not to breathe intermittently. This condition is characterized by loud snoring at night and can affect anyone, including children. If this condition remains untreated for an extended period, it leads to serious health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disorders.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are two major types of this condition, and these are central and obstructive sleep apnea. A less common disease among the two is Central sleep apnea. Here the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the breathing muscles due to instability in the respiratory control center. This condition is linked to the central nervous system.
Many people suffer from obstructive sleep apnea compared making it a more common condition. It is characterized by a partial or complete blockage of the upper airway during sleep. Apneic conditions interfere with sleep, reduce oxygen flow into vital organs, and cause heartbeat irregularities.
Who Is At Risk of Sleep Apnea?
Men are at high risk of contracting this condition than women. A study showed that the disease occurs in 25% of men and 10% of women. People of all ages can suffer from sleep apnea, including children and babies. People above 50 years are at a higher risk of contracting this disease than their counterparts.
There are certain physical and clinical features found in patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. These are excessive weight, structural abnormalities that reduce the upper airway diameter, and large necks.
Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea
Many people are unaware they snore at night. Not everyone that snores has sleep apnea, but it is a significant sign of this condition. If you have a bed partner, you should inquire about the sounds you make at night. Loud gasping, snoring, and snorting is typical signs of this disease, and you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Restless Sleep or Insomnia
People with sleep apnea don’t get restful nights. Restless night sleep is a warning sign of the condition. People suffering from this disease often toss and turn throughout the night. When the brain fails to get enough oxygen when you stop breathing at night, it sends a reflex signal to the rest of the body. Therefore, it causes you to turn and feel restless, trying to wake you up and get fresh air.
Fatigue and Sleepiness During the Day
Sleep apnea patients feel tired and sleepy during the day, even after a whole night’s sleep. As a result of Disturbance in oxygen distribution and disruption of restorative sleep at night, it causes these signs in patients. If you suffer from daytime fatigue and sleepiness, apnea may be adversely affecting your night sleep.
During the night, your body repairs wear and tears in your body and regulate a wide range of vital functions. Poor sleep quality can significantly impact your body and cause various problems ranging from hormonal imbalances and immune dysfunction.
Frequent Urination at Night
Waking up to urinate at night is a significant warning sign of sleep apnea. According to a study conducted by American Sleep Foundation, about 85 % of people suffering from this disease report frequent nighttime urination. However, waking up once to urinate at night is normal and should not cause alarm.
More so, sleep apnea causes bedwetting in children. Disruption of breathing patterns causes this condition. Bedwetting is sometimes a normal development stage in children, but you should check for other signs to know whether your child is suffering from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea patients report having severe headaches in the morning. It is suspected that improper distribution of oxygen in brain cells causes aches. This condition is closely related to loss of memory and mood swings.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment
A complete sleep study can help diagnose the root of your signs. Experts like SomnoMed can help to address the symptoms, improve your apneic condition and help you feel and function better.