Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing for short periods while you sleep.
There are two types of sleep apnea: One is called “obstructive sleep apnea” and the other is “central sleep apnea”.
In obstructive sleep apnea, you stop breathing because your throat is narrowing or closing.
In central sleep apnea, you stop breathing because your brain is not sending the right signals to your muscles to make you breathe.
When people talk about sleep apnea, they are usually referring to obstructive sleep apnea, which is the subject of this article.
People with sleep apnea don’t know that they stop breathing while they sleep. But they sometimes wake up out of breath or gasping. They also often hear their loved ones tell them that they are snoring.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
The main symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring, fatigue and daytime sleepiness.
Other symptoms may include the following:
- Agitated sleep
- Waking up by choking or gasping
- Morning headache, dry mouth or sore throat
- Waking up frequently to urinate
- Waking up by feeling agitated or dizzy
- Thought or memory impairment
Some people with sleep apnea don’t have symptoms or don’t know they have them. They may think it’s okay to be tired or snore a lot.
It is therefore essential to consult a specialist in the event of prolonged fatigue.
Is there a test for sleep apnea?
Yes, Dorma offers 2 tests for sleep apnea.
The first can be done at home and the second in a sleep laboratory if necessary. Our clinic is an accredited sleep lab with equipment that allows a thorough examination of your sleep.
The results of these tests indicate whether you have sleep apnea and also how severe
Is there anything I can do on my own to help my sleep apnea?
Although there are many prescribed treatment options there are a few things that might help you:
- You can try to stay on your back when you sleep. (However, it is not the most efficient solution because people cannot control their position during sleep.)
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Avoid alcohol, as it can cause sleep apnea.
How is sleep apnea treated?
As mentioned above, losing weight can help if you are overweight or obese. But losing weight can be difficult, and it takes time to lose enough weight to help treat sleep apnea. Most people need another treatment while they are trying to lose weight.
The most effective treatment for sleep apnea is a device that keeps your airways open while you sleep. Treatment with this device is called “continuous positive airway pressure” or CPAP.
People who receive CPAP wear a face mask at night to help them breathe.
If a CPAP device is recommended, try to be patient with it. The mask may seem uncomfortable to wear at first, and the device may seem noisy, but using it can be extremely beneficial. People with sleep apnea who use a CPAP machine feel more rested and generally feel better.
There is also another device that you wear in your mouth called an “oral appliance” or “mandibular advancement device”. In some cases, when nothing else is helpful, doctors recommend surgery to keep the airways open.
People with sleep apnea do not get quality sleep, so they are often tired and not very alert. This tiredness exposes them to the risks of car accidents and other types of accidents. In addition, studies show that people with sleep apnea are more likely than others to have high blood pressure, heart attacks and other serious heart problems – in people with severe sleep apnea, a treatment (for example, with a CPAP machine) can help prevent these problems.