What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is characterized by a shallow type of breathing or pauses in breathing during the sleep cycle. These pauses in the breathing can last a few seconds, or in more dangerous cases the pause can last up to several minutes. A loud snort is usually accompanied by the breathing after the pause.
People managing sleep apnea experience disrupting sleep which has consequences such as extreme fatigue during the day. If you are trying to manage sleep apnea, visit one of our sleep apnea specialists for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Different stages of sleep apnea
From a medical point of view, there are three different types of sleep apnea: mild, moderate and severe. These types are determined by the number of apnea episodes a patient has during sleep. Many people don’t even know they struggle with sleep apnea. Therefore, it is so important to pay attention to a few alarm signals such as:
- Excessive fatigue during the day for no apparent reason
- Feeling mentally down and unproductive during the day
- Very low energy levels
- Morning headaches
What happens during a Sleep Apnea episode?
During a sleep apnea episode, the airflow stops, and this will bring about a drop in your blood oxygen levels. People with obstructive sleep apnea will typically not remember the ‘awakenings’ during the night since their sleep was disturbed, but breathing is ultimately restored with a gasp/slight choking episode. On the other hand, people with Central Sleep Apnea are quite conscious regarding these awakenings.
What are the biggest signs of concern that might indicate Sleep Apnea?
- Loud snoring episodes
- Gasping for your breath during the night
- Feeling of choking while sleeping
- Breathing cessations (pausing)
- Sleepiness, fatigue, irritability, moodiness, headaches and even depressive states during the day.
If you or a loved one is faced with sleep apnea, contact an appointment with one of our sleep apnea doctors. We can help.
Watch for Part 2 on Sleep Apnea