Sleep Apnea: A Serious Sleep Disorder That You Should Know About
Do you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep? If yes, you might have sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition where your breathing stops and starts repeatedly while you sleep. This can happen hundreds of times per night, disrupting your sleep quality and oxygen levels. There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the more common type that occurs when your throat muscles relax and block the airway during sleep. This causes loud snoring, gasping, choking, or snorting sounds. OSA can be caused by factors such as obesity, enlarged tonsils, nasal congestion, smoking, alcohol use, or aging.
Types of sleep apnea
Central sleep apnea (CSA) is less common and occurs when your brain fails to send signals to your breathing muscles during sleep. This causes pauses in breathing that may last for seconds or minutes. CSA can be caused by conditions such as heart failure, stroke, brain injury, or certain medications.
Why is it serious?
Sleep apnea can have serious consequences for your health and well-being if left untreated. It can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, cognitive impairment, and accidents. It can also affect your mood, memory, concentration, and quality of life.
Can it be treated?
The good news is that sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated with various options depending on the severity and type of your condition. The most common treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which involves wearing a mask that delivers pressurized air to keep your airway open during sleep.
Other treatments include oral appliances that adjust your jaw position,
surgery to remove excess tissue from your throat, lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol before bed, and sleeping on your side.
If you suspect that you have sleep apnea or experience any of its symptoms,
you should consult with your doctor as soon as possible. They can perform a physical examination and order a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis and recommend the best treatment for you.
Sleep apnea is not something to ignore or take lightly. It can affect every aspect of your life and put you at risk of serious health problems. But with proper diagnosis and treatment, you can improve your breathing and enjoy better sleep quality and overall well-being.
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Winsen graduated from University of Melbourne in 2012. He worked in organisations of various sizes such as Singapore General Hospital, Pain Relief Practice, and Physioclinic before working at Elevate Physiotherapy. He specialises in sports and musculoskeletal injuries and has worked with athletes of various sports such as fencing, dancing, dragon boating, and cycling.
In his spare time he enjoys singing and playing chess.