Sleep Apnea: The Sleep Disorder that Can Cause Serious Health Problems
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes people to stop breathing for short periods of time while they sleep. This can happen hundreds of times in a single night, and it can disrupt sleep and lead to serious health problems.
There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea, and it occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and block the airway. CSA occurs when the brain doesn’t send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Waking up feeling tired even after a full night’s sleep
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
Sleep apnea can lead to a number of serious health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Increased risk of accidents
If you think you may have sleep apnea, talk to your doctor. They can do a sleep study to diagnose the condition and recommend treatment options.
Treatment for sleep apnea depends on the type of sleep apnea and the severity of the condition. Treatment options include:
- Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and avoiding alcohol and tobacco
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which uses a machine to deliver pressurized air through a mask while you sleep
- Oral appliances, which can help to keep the airway open during sleep
If you have sleep apnea, it is important to get treatment to reduce your risk of developing serious health problems. By getting treatment, you can also improve your sleep quality and overall well-being.
Tips for preventing sleep apnea
There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of developing sleep apnea, including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding alcohol and tobacco
- Getting regular exercise
- Sleeping on your side or stomach
If you have any concerns about sleep apnea, talk to your doctor. They can help you determine your risk of developing the condition and recommend steps to reduce your risk.