We do not bother much about snoring unless our bed partner starts snoring and disrupting our sleep. This could be signs of Sleep Apnea, a common and serious sleep disorder. It causes your breathing to stop or become shallow sometimes hundreds of times in your sleep. When breathing stops or becomes shallow, you drift into light sleep from deep sleep thus disrupting the quality of your sleep. Apnea refers to the period of time for which you stop breathing.

Types of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea- Caused by a blockage of airway due to the collapse of the soft tissue at the back of the throat during sleep.

Central sleep Apnea- it involves the Central Nervous System and happens when the brain fails to signal the muscles that are in charge of breathing. This is mainly due to the instability of the respiratory control center.

Who is at a risk of Sleep Apnea?

You may at a risk of sleep apnea if

  • You are a male

  • You are overweight

  • You are above 40 years of age

  • You have a large neck or tonsils or large tongue or small jaw bone

  • You have a family history of sleep apnea

  • You have gastroesophageal reflux

  • You have deviated nasal septum, sinus problems or allergies that cause nasal obstructions.

Symptoms and Complications

Sleep apnea goes unnoticed most of the times as it cannot be detected during routine checkups by your doctor or with the help of blood tests. Often it is family member or a bed partner who first notice it. Some common symptoms include

  • Headaches in the morning

  • Problem concentrating or learning

  • Mood Swings, feeling irritable or depressed

  • Frequent urge to urinate

  • Sore throat and dry mouth when you wake up.

If left untreated, it can lead to health problems such as

  • Stroke

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Diabetes

  • Depression

  • Heart Failure, irregular heartbeats or even heart attacks

  • Headaches

If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea visit our doctors who specialize in treating sleep disorders. Lifestyle changes, surgery, breathing devices, mouth pieces etc may help in the treatment.