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Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a dangerous health condition that occurs when a person stops breathing during sleep. The cessation of breathing can last from a few seconds to minutes. More than 30 episodes per hour can occur. In particular, obesity, family history of sleep apnea, and narrowed airways are factors that can contribute to the development of sleep apnea. Adenoids and swollen tonsils in children may increase the risk of developing sleep apnea. If sleep apnea is not properly diagnosed or treated, it can cause loud snoring, high blood pressure, heart disease, and daytime sleepiness.

What is sleep apnea?


The word "apnea" can be defined in Latin as a cessation of breathing or shortness of breath. In this context, sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops or becomes very shallow during sleep. The lack of oxygen caused by the cessation of breathing can cause a reflex arousal to avoid life-threatening situations. This reflex allows the person to survive, but can interrupt the sleep cycle. This can disrupt healthy sleep and put stress on the heart. It can also contribute to a number of potentially fatal problems.

During sleep apnea, breathing may stop and start repeatedly. The cessation of breathing during sleep may be caused by a blocked airway or the brain's inability to properly control the respiratory center.

What are the types of sleep apnea?

There are currently 3 types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction in the airway, while central sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction in the brain. The complex apnea picture that occurs as a result of treatment is called "complex sleep apnea syndrome". Sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder, can in some cases lead to severe oxygen deprivation. Sleep apnea may be suspected if there is fatigue and loud snoring after an uninterrupted night's sleep.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

The symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea can often be similar. Therefore, diagnosis can be difficult in some cases. Symptoms of both obstructive and central sleep apnea may include

Loud snoring: Snoring may be common, but snoring may not be present in every case of sleep apnea.
Shortness of breath: Shortness of breath and a feeling of choking.
Waking up repeatedly during sleep: People often do not understand why they are waking up. However, sleep can often be interrupted by shortness of breath.
Fatigue and exhaustion: People may feel extremely tired and exhausted when they wake up.
Daytime sleepiness: Disruption of the sleep cycle can cause daytime sleepiness because it leads to insomnia.
Mood changes: The most prominent features may be anxiety and depression.

In addition, other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include night sweats, waking up with headaches, sexual dysfunction, concentration problems, irritability and dry mouth.

Is snoring a symptom of sleep apnea?

People with sleep apnea often snore loudly. However, sleep apnea does not always cause snoring. Sleep apnea is different from normal snoring. Normal (primary) snoring is caused by throat or nasal conditions, obesity, aging, and sleeping position. In addition to loud snoring, sleep apnea can cause shallow breathing, choking, pauses in breathing, and restlessness. Sleep apnea can also put you at high risk for car and work accidents and other medical conditions.

What causes sleep apnea?

The risk of developing sleep apnea may be particularly high in men, people who are overweight, and people with respiratory diseases. However, there are 3 main types of sleep apnea and a number of other causes. In obstructive sleep apnea, the main cause is the pressure of surrounding tissues on the airway as a result of relaxation of the muscles in the neck. Central sleep apnea can be caused by the inability of the brain to send signals in the central nervous system in some cases. Central sleep apnea can occur when there is no nerve transmission to the respiratory control mechanism and respiratory muscles. In addition, heart failure, ALS, low blood oxygen levels at high altitudes, and damage to the nervous system can cause central sleep apnea. Central apnea, which can occur during the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, can become complex apnea.

What are the types of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can be divided into 3 types, but can often cause similar symptoms and outcomes. The main types of sleep apnea described in the medical literature are as follows

Obstructive sleep apnea: This is the most common type of sleep apnea. It can occur when airflow to the lungs is blocked, usually due to relaxation of the throat muscles and collapse of the soft tissues. As a result, the airway may become partially or completely blocked. To open the blocked airways, the chest muscles and diaphragm may work harder than normal. This can cause you to breathe loudly and your body to shake. Oxygen flow to other organs may be reduced, and heart rhythm may be abnormal.

Central sleep apnea: In this type of sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked. Instead, problems in the respiratory control center in the brain prevent adequate and appropriate signals from being sent to the muscles. As a result, there is a dysfunction of the muscles that control breathing. It is often seen in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, and lung disease.

Complex sleep apnea: This is a type of sleep apnea that can usually occur as a result of treatment. It can occur when obstructive sleep apnea becomes central sleep apnea during treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Both obstructive and central apnea may be present in complex sleep apnea.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Diagnosing sleep apnea involves evaluating signs and symptoms and taking a medical history. It may also include a family history of sleep apnea, obesity, and other conditions. Individuals with suspected sleep apnea may need to undergo several tests. Diagnostic procedures known as sleep apnea tests include

Sleep study (polysomnography): This may involve overnight sleep monitoring using a variety of devices to provide the necessary monitoring. This may include heart and breathing rates, blood oxygen levels, lung and brain activity, and arm and leg movements.
Home sleep apnea testing: This is a simpler test that works similarly to a polysomnography test. This test can be done with a sleep apnea machine and can check heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and airflow. However, central sleep apnea cannot be diagnosed because brain waves cannot be measured with a home sleep apnea machine. Polysomnography may often be recommended if a typical result is not obtained with a home sleep test.

In addition, the person may be referred to an otolaryngologist to check for discomfort and obstruction in the nose and throat.

What are the treatment options for sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea treatment depends on whether the type of sleep apnea is central or obstructive. Sleep apnea treatments can be part of your daily routine. With these treatments, the negative effects of sleep apnea can be alleviated or eliminated. Treatment methods may include medications, ventilation devices, conservative treatments and oral appliances. Major sleep apnea treatment may include:

Conservative treatments: Non-medical treatments may not completely cure sleep apnea, but they can reduce the severity of symptoms. Conservative treatments may include weight loss, changes in sleeping position, special support pillows, nasal sprays, and changes in medications.
Positive Airway Pressure (PAP): A method of pushing pressurized air into the windpipe during breathing to keep the windpipe open. It is known as a sleep apnea mask and comes in several styles and types. The most commonly preferred PAP device is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Obstructive, central, and complex sleep apnea can be treated with the specific device used.
Oral devices: Specially designed devices can help position the jaw and tongue so that they do not press against the airway.
Surgery: Surgical reduction or removal of surrounding soft tissue that is compressing the airway. Surgery for sleep apnea may include somnoplasty, tonsillectomy, and surgery of the nose and jaw.

Frequently Asked Questions

Obstructive and central sleep apnea can sometimes go undiagnosed. However, it can become serious and dangerous. Many details about the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea are curious.

What causes sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can occur for many different reasons. A family history of sleep apnea, obesity, relaxation and collapse of the muscles in the throat, heart failure, ALS, low oxygen levels, disorders of the brain and nervous system can cause sleep apnea.

Can sleep apnea kill?

In severe cases of sleep apnea, pressure in the blood vessels and chambers of the heart can increase. High pressure can damage the heart muscles. Arrhythmias, defined as abnormal heart rhythms, can cause the heart to stop beating. Sudden cardiac death can occur, and sleep apnea can be fatal. Sleep apnea is not always dangerous and severe.

Which department treats sleep apnea?

If obstructive sleep apnea is suspected, an appointment can be made with the Otolaryngology service. Nasal and throat obstructions may need to be evaluated and ruled out. In addition, a cardiology or neurology evaluation may be necessary if central sleep apnea is suspected.

What is good for sleep apnea?

The exact solutions for sleep apnea can vary. Weight loss for obesity, treatment of underlying medical conditions such as heart failure, or surgery may be effective in improving sleep apnea. However, specially designed mouthpieces or masks, support pillows, and sprays may be good for sleep apnea.

What is a sleep apnea device?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep, which can seriously affect sleep quality and cause serious health problems in the long term. People with sleep apnea are usually recommended a number of treatments, one of which is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.

CPAP devices are used to help people with sleep apnea regulate their breathing. These devices come in different types, such as face masks or nasal cannulas, and can be chosen according to the user's comfort.CPAP devices provide a continuous flow of air to keep the airway open, which can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of sleep apnea.

* Liv Hospital Editorial Board has contributed to the publication of this content .
* Contents of this page is for informational purposes only. Please consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. The content of this page does not include information on medicinal health care at Liv Hospital .
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09 May 2024
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