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Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can cause breathing problems and disruptions while you sleep. It is a disorder that can affect anyone, and in addition to causing issues with your sleep, sleep apnea can lead to long-term health issues if you don’t seek treatment. Read on to learn more about sleep apnea and how you can address it to get better sleep.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that interrupts your breathing while you’re sleeping. This can happen multiple times throughout the night. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to further health issues down the line, such as stroke, high blood pressure, heart problems, and diabetes.
In addition to these serious medical issues, sleep apnea can also affect your daily activities. A lack of sleep can lead to difficulty concentrating at work or school, and sleep deprivation has its own set of side effects and consequences.
There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and complex. Diagnosing the type of sleep apnea you have can help create a more effective treatment plan and understand the cause of your disorder. Let’s take a look at the three different types.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type. This type of sleep apnea happens when the upper airway is completely or partially blocked while you’re sleeping. This causes your diaphragm and chest to work harder to open the airway. A person with obstructive sleep apnea will usually gasp or jerk in their sleep to resume breathing. This can make sleeping difficult, cut your oxygen flow, and affect your normal heart rhythm.
In central sleep apnea, the brain doesn’t send the signal for the muscles to breathe. This type of sleep apnea is a central nervous system issue.
Complex sleep apnea is sometimes referred to as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. Complex sleep apnea means someone has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Because the symptoms of both types of sleep apnea are so common, it can be difficult to diagnose which type you have. This is why it’s important to get a professional diagnosis so you can find the source of your sleep disorder.
Here are some symptoms to watch out for:
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the muscles relaxing in the back of your throat, causing your airways to narrow or close. Your brain will detect the lower levels of oxygen and wake you to reopen your airways. This interrupts your sleep phases throughout the night. Central sleep apnea is caused by your brain not transmitting signals to your breathing muscles.
While sleep apnea can happen to anyone, there are certain factors that may increase your risk of having it.
Factors that increase your risk for obstructive sleep apnea include:
Factors that increase your risk for central sleep apnea include:
Sleep apnea can cause various health effects that disrupt daily life. It can also lead to long-term health issues. Let’s take a look at some of these effects.
Effects on Daily Life
Long-term Health Risks
When you stop breathing, your body temporarily gets lower levels of oxygen, which causes your heart rate to drop. When you suddenly start breathing again, your heart rate speeds up, and your blood pressure rises. When this happens frequently, you increase your risk for more serious health issues.
Higher blood pressure can cause your heart to grow more fibrous cells between muscles, making it more difficult to operate at peak efficiency. The heart issues that arise from sleep apnea can cause your heart to work harder and lose some of its blood-pumping efficiency.
If you have trouble sleeping or are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor and learn about next steps. Your doctor will likely suggest an at-home test or an overnight sleep study. Each has its own set of pros and cons. Here’s what you can expect from each type of test.
At-Home Sleep Apnea Testing
At-home sleep apnea testing is more convenient than a sleep study, as it can be done in the comfort of your own bed. With an at-home sleep apnea test, you’ll be given a breathing monitor that will track your breathing and oxygen levels. While this device won’t be able to monitor as many metrics as an overnight sleep study, it can often be an effective way to diagnose more obvious cases of sleep apnea.
Keep in mind that these tests may not completely rule out sleep apnea. Certain factors, like the sensors falling off or being applied improperly, can cause test variations that wouldn’t happen in an overnight sleep study. Finally, if you have serious medical conditions or additional sleep disorders that could disrupt the test reading, an at-home test likely won’t be an effective solution for you.
Overnight Sleep Study
Overnight sleep studies are much more comprehensive than at-home tests, but they require you to be monitored at a sleep lab. Also, this will be a more expensive option if it’s not covered by your insurance. These tests will monitor all of the signals an at-home test will, plus your brainwaves, muscle tone, leg movement, sleep phases, eye movement, airflow, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and more. An overnight test can help diagnose sleep apnea and rule out other sleep disorders as well.
If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are several treatment options available. Treatment will depend on the severity of your sleep apnea. Let’s explore the typical treatment options.
Lifestyle Changes and Conservative Therapy
For less severe cases of sleep apnea, making lifestyle changes can sometimes be enough to treat or greatly reduce symptoms.
Devices for Sleep Apnea
When lifestyle changes aren’t enough, you may need to use devices that are designed to help your sleep apnea. These are are some of the common devices you may use.
In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to treat sleep apnea. Surgery is usually the treatment of last resort for sleep apnea and will only be recommended or pursued after lifestyle changes and machine therapy has been attempted with little to no change. The following are some of the surgical procedures that might be recommended.
When you’re being treated for sleep apnea or if you’re dealing with other sleep disorders, it’s common to face difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep. If you’re wanting to get your sleep schedule back on track, let Sleep Reset help.
Sleep disorders like sleep apnea can cause sleep deprivation and a misaligned sleep schedule. Sleep Reset can help you get your sleep habits on the right track so you can just focus on your sleep apnea treatment. Sleep Reset is a program backed by science that uses proven sleep methods to help you fall asleep faster, sleep through the night, and wake up feeling refreshed. Sleep Reset is an all-natural sleep solution that doesn’t require pills or supplements, so there are no side effects or grogginess.
Sleep Reset will create a customized plan that will shift your sleep patterns based on your lifestyle and your sleep conditions. You’ll also get a dedicated sleep coach to help you every step of the way.
Take our sleep assessment today to find out how Sleep Reset can help you sleep better and sleep deeper!