What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Life Clinic Halifax Fredericton What Is Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can have very serious side effects. Sleep apnea is when your breathing repeatedly stops and starts while you sleep, but how do you really know if you have sleep apnea?  You might have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night's sleep.

There are two main types of sleep apnea to look out for. 

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when throat muscles relax and block the flow of air into the lungs
  • Central sleep apnea (CSA), occurs when the brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing while you sleep. 

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Despite there being two different types of Sleep Apnea the symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas overlap, which can make it difficult to determine which type you have initially. 

The most common symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:

  • Loud snoring.
  • Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — which would be observed by another person.
  • Gasping for air during sleep.
  • Awakening with a dry mouth.
  • Morning headaches.
  • Struggling to stay asleep, known as insomnia.
  • Extreme daytime sleepiness. 
  • A hard time paying attention while awake.
  • Irritability throughout the day. 

Risks Of Sleep Apnea

  • Fatigue: the constant waking up that happens with sleep apnea will cause you to feel extremely tired throughout the day and makes having a restorative, restful night's sleep impossible, in turn making severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue and irritability much more likely.
  • High blood pressure and heart problems:  Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during OSA increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. Having OSA increases your risk of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. It may also increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and irregular heartbeats. 
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Having sleep apnea increases your risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  • Sleepy Partners: Loud snoring can keep anyone who sleeps nearby from getting good rest. It's common for a partner to have to go to another room, or even to another floor of the house, to be able to sleep.

How To Treat Sleep Apnea

In order to begin treating sleep Apnea, we recommend booking a free Sleep Study with us at either our Halifax or Fredericton locations. 

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