Do you wake up TIRED? Do have difficulty focusing on Daily Tasks?
Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.
If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night's sleep, you might have sleep apnea.
The main types of sleep apnea are:
Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax
Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing
Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, which occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea
If you think you might have sleep apnea, see your doctor. Treatment can ease your symptoms and might help prevent heart problems and other complications. SymptomsThe signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas overlap, sometimes making it difficult to determine which type you have. The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:
Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — which would be reported by another person
Gasping for air during sleep
Awakening with a dry mouth
Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
Difficulty paying attention while awake
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, even children. But certain factors increase your risk. Obstructive sleep apneaFactors that increase the risk of this form of sleep apnea include:
Excess weight. Obesity greatly increases the risk of sleep apnea. Fat deposits around your upper airway can obstruct your breathing.
Neck circumference. People with thicker necks might have narrower airways.
A narrowed airway. You might have inherited a narrow throat. Tonsils or adenoids also can enlarge and block the airway, particularly in children.
Being male. Men are two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea than are women. However, women increase their risk if they're overweight, and their risk also appears to rise after menopause.
Being older. Sleep apnea occurs significantly more often in older adults.
Family history. Having family members with sleep apnea might increase your risk.
Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers. These substances relax the muscles in your throat, which can worsen obstructive sleep apnea.
Smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than are people who've never smoked. Smoking can increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.
Nasal congestion. If you have difficulty breathing through your nose — whether from an anatomical problem or allergies — you're more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.
Central sleep apneaRisk factors for this form of sleep apnea include:
Being older. Middle-aged and older people have a higher risk of central sleep apnea.
Being male. Central sleep apnea is more common in men than it is in women.
Heart disorders. Having congestive heart failure increases the risk.
Using narcotic pain medications. Opioid medications, especially long-acting ones such as methadone, increase the risk of central sleep apnea.
Stroke. Having had a stroke increases your risk of central sleep apnea or treatment-emergent central sleep apnea.
ComplicationsSleep apnea is a serious medical condition. Complications can include:
Daytime fatigue. The repeated awakenings associated with sleep apnea make normal, restorative sleep impossible, making severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue and irritability likely. You might have difficulty concentrating and find yourself falling asleep at work, while watching TV or even when driving. People with sleep apnea have an increased risk of motor vehicle and workplace accidents. You might also feel quick-tempered, moody or depressed. Children and adolescents with sleep apnea might perform poorly in school or have behavior problems.
High blood pressure or heart problems. Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. Having obstructive sleep apnea increases your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension). Obstructive sleep apnea might also increase your risk of recurrent heart attack, stroke and abnormal heartbeats, such as atrial fibrillation. If you have heart disease, multiple episodes of low blood oxygen (hypoxia or hypoxemia) can lead to sudden death from an irregular heartbeat.
Type 2 diabetes. Having sleep apnea increases your risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome. This disorder, which includes high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood sugar and an increased waist circumference, is linked to a higher risk of heart disease.
Complications with medications and surgery. Obstructive sleep apnea is also a concern with certain medications and general anesthesia. People with sleep apnea might be more likely to have complications after major surgery because they're prone to breathing problems, especially when sedated and lying on their backs. Before you have surgery, tell your doctor about your sleep apnea and how it's being treated.
Liver problems. People with sleep apnea are more likely to have abnormal results on liver function tests, and their livers are more likely to show signs of scarring (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease).
Sleep-deprived partners. Loud snoring can keep anyone who sleeps near you from getting good rest. It's not uncommon for a partner to have to go to another room, or even to another floor of the house, to be able to sleep.
Lifestyle and home remediesIn some cases, self-care might be a way for you to deal with obstructive sleep apnea and possibly central sleep apnea. Try these tips:
Lose excess weight. Even a slight weight loss might help relieve constriction of your throat. In some cases, sleep apnea can resolve if you return to a healthy weight, but it can recur if you regain the weight.
Exercise. Regular exercise can help ease the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea even without weight loss. Try to get 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as a brisk walk, most days of the week.
Avoid alcohol and certain medications such as tranquilizers and sleeping pills. These relax the muscles in the back of your throat, interfering with breathing.
Sleep on your side or abdomen rather than on your back. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to rest against the back of your throat and block your airway. To keep from rolling onto your back while you sleep, try attaching a tennis ball to the back of your pajama top. There are also commercial devices that vibrate when you roll onto your back in sleep.
Don't smoke. If you're a smoker, look for resources to help you quit.