Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes someone’s breathing to stop as they are sleeping. Breathing will eventually begin again but the pause in breathing can last from seconds up to a few minutes. This cycle can also occur 30 times an hour or more.
When breathing begins again, a loud coughing or snoring sound can be heard, as the body begins to function normally again. The condition of sleep apnea is a constant problem that will cause you to lose sleep almost every night. Suffering from sleep apnea can lead to sleepiness during the day because you had a poor night’s sleep, the day before.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Like some of types of medical problems, sleep apnea has more than one type to diagnose. Finding the correct type of sleep apnea can be the key to getting the right treatment.
The most common of the sleep disorders, obstructive sleep apnea is typically the one to deal with, when you find out that you have a problem. With this type of sleep apnea, your entire airway is obstructed or only slightly obstructed. With full obstruction, breathing stops for a short time but with the partial blockage, you will experience shallow breathing that is also very slow. This can be as dangerous as the full obstruction.
This disorder is different from obstructive sleep apnea because the problem occurs in the brain. The nasal cavity is not obstructed in any way. You will simply stop breathing because your brain stem has stopped telling your body to breath. This sleep apnea is caused by any damage to the brain stem.
Also called mixed sleep apnea, this is a mixture of central and obstructive sleep apnea. Symptoms may lead you to believe that your apnea is obstructive, but once treatment begins in the form of a machine that allows for continuous airway pressure, the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea go away and central ones begin.
Sleep apnea does not have to stop or slow down the life that you choose to lead. One way to cope is create a plan and stick to it. Work with your doctor and keep your visits regular and on schedule to ensure that your treatment is being followed correctly. Proper treatment can help you to avoid other medical problems such as heart disease.
If your CPAP breathing machine does not feel comfortable, try to change your mask until you find one that fits you well. Dieting and exercise is a must to lessen your sleep apnea because weight gain can cause your symptoms to worsen. If you live with someone, get your families help for emotional support and extra help in following your treatment.
For cases of sleep apnea that are mild, you can try to make a few changes in your life that can help to lower your chances of sleep apnea episodes.
A mouthpiece or breathing device may also help your disorder. The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is commonly used and can help most apnea sufferers. A device covers both your nose and mouth, while another simply covers your nose. The device will send a gentle wave of air into the throat of the wearer.
If nothing else works, you may have to try surgery to deal with your sleep apnea disorder. Discuss with your doctor your type of sleep apnea and the specific surgery that would benefit you the most. Surgery is done to open your breathing passage a little wider to help you breathe easier.