Sleep Apnea   4 comments

Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea:

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. Which restrict the brain, and your body from getting enough oxygen.

Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing is disrupted during sleep. These interruptions last 10 to 30 seconds, and may occur hundreds of times throughout sleeping. A person with sleep apnea may experience loud snoring, brief pauses in breathing, and intermittent gasping. During apnea events, the oxygen level of the blood drops, the heart rate increases, and sleep becomes disrupted as the affected person wakes up to resume breathing. This can have significant consequences on one’s health.

The most common type of Sleep Apnea:

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. It happens when your tongue, tonsils, or other tissues in the back of the throat block the airway. When you try to breathe in, the air can’t get through. Central sleep apnea is less common than OSA. Central sleep apnea means the brain doesn’t always signal the body to breathe when it should.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Aside from the pauses in breathing which are typical of the disorder, there are many other common symptoms in sleep apnea. These symptoms may include:

  • Loud, chronic snoring
  • Choking or gasping during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headache
  • Memory or learning problems
  • Feeling irritable
  • Poor concentration
  • Changes in mood, including depression
  • Poor concentration
  • Dry throat or mouth upon awakening

Causes of Sleep Apnea

There are a few common causes of sleep apnea and situations that can make it worse, including:

  • Being overweight or obese (including a large neck size)
  • Abnormal upper airway anatomy (including deviated septum)
  • Using medications, drugs, or alcohol
  • Aging
  • Sleeping on back
  • REM or dreaming sleep
  • Smoking


Sleep apnea is a relatively common disorder that involves pauses in breathing that occur during sleep. There are various sub-types of sleep apnea, and it may be more common in specific populations. The symptoms that result often include excessive daytime sleepiness, but there can also be serious — and even deadly — consequences. There are several conditions that may cause sleep apnea or make it worse. Diagnosis typically relies on a careful history and physical examination by a physician and a sleep study such as a polysomnogram. Treatment may be accomplished with the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or other alternative therapies such as dental devices or even surgery. There may be certain accommodations that must be arranged in order to maximize therapy compliance. Fortunately sleep apnea can often be successfully treated with favorable results.


American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “International classification of sleep disorders: Diagnostic and coding manual.” 2nd ed. 2005.

Collop, N. “The effect of obstructive sleep apnea on chronic medical disorders.” Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2007 74:1.

Durmer, J et al. “Pediatric Sleep Medicine.” American Academy of Neurology Continuum. 2007; 153-200.

Epstein, LJ et al. “Clinical guideline for the evaluation, management, and long-term care of obstructive sleep apnea in adults.” J Clin Sleep Med. 2009; 5:263.

Jennum, P et al. “Epidemiology of sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome and sleep-disordered breathing.”Eur Respir J. 2009; 33:907.

4 responses to “Sleep Apnea

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I was finally diagnosed with sleep apnea and after much adjustment of masks and air flow pressure, I now use my mask about 5 nights a week. What a huge difference. I notice it not only how I feel during the day (more energy, better color in my face…the pale/gray is gone, no buzzing headaches) but also in my morning swim. I am not gasping for breath at the end of every lap. I have been swimming 1/2 mile a couple of times a week for years so this has been great news! Best of luck. This will be a huge improvement for you if indeed that is the issue

  2. Allergies and sleep apnea are two very different things. Allergies will do everything from itchy eyes, inflamed sinus, runny nose, sneezing, snoring to mention a few. Sleep apnea on the other hand means you stop breathing for a few seconds and then jolt slightly awake when you start to breath again. You do snore louder then normal because you’re trying to replace the oxygen you’ve missed by not breathing for those few seconds. To the best of my knowledge there’s nothing you can buy over the counter for Sleep Apnea, you could try the strips that go over the bridge of the nose to hold the nostrils open but they very very rarely have any affect or reduce the volume of the freight train. I have had a little bit more success with using a humidifier close to the bed, the noise is caused by vibration in the back of the mouth and throat, if it’s lubricated it doesn’t vibrate as hard or as loud.

  3. Pingback: Controlling Stress | Barrier's Health and Fitness

  4. Im waiting for a sleep study but Im damn sure I have this. How long for is aneohtr question. Anyway Im not overweight and I swim over 3-4km a week and work 13 hrs a day in a physical job. Wake up grasping for air a few times a night and dream excessively. Possible narcolepsy combined with Apnea. Yes I am very tired but Im very fit too. Cant wait till I can sleep properly and finally wake up refreshed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: