Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which you have one or more episodes of pauses in your breathing pattern or breathing too shallow during sleep. Usually the regular breathing pattern starts again with a loud snore or choking sound that often times can wake you up, interrupting your sleep during the night. As a result, this causes poor sleep quality and can cause excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue during the day. Sleep apnea is most common in over weight males over 40 years old. Some other risk factors of sleep apnea can include, having a large neck size,allergies or nasal obstructions, or having large tonsils in children.
There are 2 types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is most common and is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. Central sleep apnea is when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea and is caused by obstruction of the upper airway and is commonly characterized by loud snoring with episodes of obstructed breathing. Serious episodes last more than 10 seconds each and occur more than 5 times per hour. These episodes can reduce blood oxygen levels resulting in a restless sleep at night. The ill effects of OSA include irregular heart rhythm, difficult to control blood pressure, heart problems, day time fatigue and sleepiness
Symptoms of OSA
Signs that you may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Observed episodes of “quit breathing” during sleep
- Awakening due to shortness of breath
- Awakening with headache or dry mouth
- High blood pressure
Insomnia is a common sleeping disorder in which you experience trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both. Symptoms can include sleeping only short periods, staying awake for most of the night, lying in bed for a long time trying to fall asleep, or waking up too early. There are treatment options for insomnia such as, making life style changes, medications, or counseling on good sleep hygiene.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
RLS is a disorder that involves the nervous system which can affect the legs and causes an urge to move them. Symptoms are usually worse at night and can range from mild to intolerable, usually causing an irresistible urge to move their legs. Certain chronic diseases such as iron deficiency, kidney failure, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and neuropathy can cause or worsen RLS symptoms. Also there are certain medications that can cause RLS symptoms such as some antidepressants, allergy medications, and antipsychotic drugs. There are treatments for RLS depending on the severity of symptoms.
Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Shift work sleep disorder is having a problem with your body’s 24 hour internal clock, or circadian rhythm. This disorder is most common for those who work night shifts and have to stay awake all night. It can also be caused from working rotating shifts. For most people, having to change your sleeping schedule may be hard to do and the sleep that you do get is not good enough rest and will cause you to feel unrested.
Parasmonia is a sleep disorder that involves abnormal movements, behaviors, emotions and dreams that can occur while falling asleep, sleeping or during arousal from sleep. There are many types of parasomnias such as sleep terrors/night terrors, nightmares, sleep walking, rhythmic movement disorders, confused arousals, sleep talking and nocturnal leg cramps.
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