What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a serious sleeping disorder that, if left untreated, can be deadly. Sleep Apnea occurs when your airways repeatedly close during sleep. The disruption in your breathing causes your brain to wake you up, to resume breathing. Often, you might not even realize your sleep has been interrupted.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax. This causes the soft palette to collapse, cutting off airways. When the breathing passage narrows or collapses, the blood oxygen level reduces, which can cause many long-term health concerns. To counteract this, the brain wakes up the body, sometimes just slightly, so breathing can resume normally.
It is estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea.
Mild to severe sleep apnea is categorized by 5 or more apnea events per hour of sleep.
The Types of Sleep Apnea
There are 3 main types of sleep apnea:
1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This is the most common form of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea can be managed with treatment like an oral device and lifestyle changes.
2. Central Sleep Apnea
This occurs when your brain does not send the proper signal to your body to continue breathing.
3. Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome
This is a combination of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea.
Certain risk factors make someone more likely to suffer from Sleep Apnea, including: