Sleep apnea is a common condition seen as a a periodic reduction in or perhaps a complete stop of breathing during sleep.

Sleep apnea affects the way you breathe when you’re sleeping. In untreated sleep apnea, breathing is briefly interrupted or becomes really shallow during sleep. These breathing pauses typically last between 10-20 seconds and can occur as much as hundreds of times a night, jolting you out of trouble of your natural sleep rhythm. The sleeper rouses slightly, opens the upper airway, typically snorts and gasps, then drifts to sleep almost immediately.

Women with sleep apnea tend to have more severe brain damage than men using the disorder. Sleep apnea is a common condition seen as a a periodic reduction in or perhaps a complete stop of breathing during sleep. There are two main types of sleep apnea; obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Mixed sleep apnea refers to the mixture of both central and obstructive sleep apnea. Here are causes and symptoms of sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue at the back of your throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway, often making you snore loudly.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is a much less common type of sleep apnea that involves the central nervous system, occurring once the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. People with central sleep apnea seldom snore.

Complex Sleep Apnea

Complex sleep apnea is a mixture of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Causes of Sleep Apnoea

Obesity is among the most common causes of sleep apnoea. A loss of around 5kg to 10kg may be enough to dramatically reduce the severity of the disorder. Other contributing factors include:

  • Alcohol, especially in the evening – this relaxes the throat muscles and hampers the brain’s response to sleep disordered breathing
  • Certain illnesses, like reduced thyroid production or even the presence of a very large goitre
  • Large tonsils, particularly in children
  • Medications, such as sleeping tablets and sedatives
  • Nasal congestion and obstruction
  • Facial bone shape and also the size of muscles, such as an undershot jaw.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea

People with significant sleep apnea come with an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents and blood pressure, and may have an increased chance of heart attack and stroke. In the over-30 year age group, the disorder is about 3 times more common in men than women. Some of the associated symptoms include:

  • Daytime sleepiness, fatigue and tiredness
  • Poor concentration
  • Irritability and mood changes
  • Impotence and reduced libido
  • Need to get up to toilet frequently during the night