Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. You may have Sleep Apnea if you snore loudly and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep.
There are two main types of Sleep Apneas:
– Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common form of Sleep Apnea. This occurs when there’s a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep
– Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing
The signs and symptoms of Obstructive and Central Sleep Apneas overlap, sometimes making the type of Apnea more difficult to determine. The most common signs and symptoms of Obstructive and Central Sleep Apneas include:
– Excessive daytime sleepiness (Hypersomnia)
– Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in Obstructive Sleep Apnea
– Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person
– Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
– Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
– Morning headache
– Difficulty staying asleep (Insomnia)
– Attention problems
A common misconception is that Sleep Apnea only affects older, overweight men. This widely-held assumption is wrong: anyone can have Sleep Apnea, regardless of gender, age or body type. If you have any of the following traits you may be at increase risk:
– Excess weight: An adult with a BMI of 25 or higher is considered to be overweight. Your risk of Sleep Apnea increases with the amount of excess body weight.
– Large neck size (>17 inches for men, > 16 inches for women): A large neck will have more fatty tissue that can block your airway.
– Older age (40+ for men, 50+ for women): Sleep Apnea occurs more often in older adults, especially people older than 60.
– Being male: Men have twice the risk having Sleep Apnea compared to women
– Smoker: Smokers have a higher risk of Sleep Apnea
– Hypertensive: High blood pressure is very common in people with Sleep Apnea
– Family history: Sleep Apnea can appear more often among family members. This may be a result of either inherited traits or common lifestyles.