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4 Common Questions About Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is a problem where you have an irregular breathing pattern while you are sleeping, which can cause you to stop breathing momentarily. It's a serious problem that can be treated by either surgery or special sleep apnea appliances. Here are a few questions you may have about sleep apnea if you suspect that you have it.

Are There Different Types Of Sleep Apnea?

The most common type of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea, and it is when you have a blockage within your airways that causes those breathing problems. It can happen due to having allergies that swell up the tissues in those pathways, an overbite that pulls your jaw back and blocks the airway, or even too much tissue in your neck due to being overweight.

Central sleep apnea is a problem that is related to your central nervous system. It's an issue where your brain is not telling your body to breathe for a short amount of time while you are sleeping, which disrupts your sleep cycle. It can actually cause you to wake up in a panic due to hyperventilating. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea?

Some people suffer from sleep apnea and do not realize how their sleep is being disrupted. Many people with sleep apnea end up having fatigue, headaches, and even trouble concentrating. This is all due to having their sleep disrupted at night and not getting a good night's sleep. It can also cause other health problems, such as chest pains due to a drop in oxygen levels as well. 

How Do you Diagnose Sleep Apnea? 

It is best to have a sleep study performed, which involves observing you while you sleep to track your vital signs, oxygen levels, snoring, and even your brain movement. This can identify how serious your sleep apnea is and what the choice of action should be. Before you are observed for a sleep study, you will be told to avoid taking stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine.

How Do You Treat Sleep Apnea?

It may be recommended that you get a continuous positive airway pressure device, often referred to as a CPAP machine, to keep your airways open with a steady stream of air. This can be incredibly effective but requires you to use the machine every night. There are also dental appliances that can be made, which move your jaw and improve airflow while you are sleeping. Surgery can be even performed as well to realign your jawbone and improve your airways.