Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. This potentially serious disorder can lead to serious health problems if left untreated, and a frightening 90% of people who suffer from sleep apnea are unaware they have it. If you often snore loudly or wake to feel tired even after a whole night of sleep, you might be suffering from sleep apnea.
What Are The Types Of Sleep Apnea?
There are three main types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form and occurs when the throat muscles relax. Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain isn’t correctly sending signals to the muscles in control of breathing. And Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome is also known as the treatment-emergent central sleep apnea and occurs when someone suffers from both significant and obstructive sleep apnea.
If you think you might suffer from sleep apnea, a simple sleep study can reveal what type of sleep apnea you’re affected by, and the experts at The Sleep Center at Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine, PC, can help design a treatment plan to help you get the sleep you need.
Common Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea
If you’re unsure if a sleep study is right for you, look over these common symptoms and warning signs of sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Women
Sleep apnea is less common in women but just as risky to your overall health. Common symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, difficulty concentrating during the day, mood changes, depression, irritability, loud snoring, and abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Men
Adult sleep apnea symptoms are similar among men and women; however, men are two to three times more likely to develop sleep apnea than women. Common Symptoms include frequent loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, awakening with a dry mouth, morning headache, difficulty staying asleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, and difficulty paying attention when awake.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Children
Pediatric sleep apnea can lead to many issues for kids. Symptoms include snoring, pauses in breathing, nighttime sweating, bed-wetting, sleep terrors, mouth breathing, snorting, coughing or choking, and restless sleep. Although these symptoms can result from other issues, if you have concerns that your child might be suffering from sleep apnea, it’s best to call your doctor or seek the help of a sleep specialist.
What Treatments Are Available?
Luckily there are many excellent treatment options for sleep apnea. Here are a few of the most common types.
CPAP: CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is a therapy for patients with sleep apnea. This is probably the most common treatment for sleep apnea patients. The patient will wear a mask that holds mild air pressure to help keep the airways open and ensure your airway does not collapse when you breathe while asleep. This treatment is highly effective and is covered by most insurance plans.
BPAP: BPAP is another non-invasive ventilation therapy commonly used to facilitate breathing. Some patients who cannot tolerate or adapt to a CPAP machine have found a BPAP machine to be more comfortable and practical. Every insurance company is different, but many will pay for a BPAP machine with a sleep apnea diagnosis of at least a portion.
Oral Appliance: Dental appliances can be used as a sleep apnea treatment for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. They work by preventing the tongue from blocking the throat or advancing the lower jaw to help keep the airway open during sleep. A sleep specialist and a dentist with expertise should determine if this treatment is best for you. This is an effective treatment for some sleep apnea forms and inexpensive, although it is not always covered by insurance.
If you’re concerned you might be suffering from sleep apnea or have recently been diagnosed, the experts at The Sleep Center at Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine, PC, can help. Contact us today for more information on sleep apnea treatments or to schedule your sleep study.