What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disruption of a person’s normal sleep pattern when the body’s need for oxygen is blocked or greatly reduced. One episode of breathing cessation can last a few seconds or a full minute or more and can occur up to 100 times or more during an hour.
Is there only one type of Sleep Apnea?
No, there are three classifications of sleep apnea. The most common type is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and, depending on the symptoms, can range from mild to severe conditions and often involves loud snoring sounds. OSA is related to the intake and outflow of a person’s airway. A less common type is called Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), where the airway remains open, but the muscles of the diaphragm and the chest will temporarily stop. When the intake of air stops, the brain signals the body to wake up and breath. There is seldom loud snoring with CSA. The third type is called Mixed Sleep Apnea (MSA), where a person will experience alternating episodes of both OSA and CSA.
What are some symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Some people may experience one or more of the following typical symptoms of sleep apnea:
On-going loud snoring; frequent leg cramps; being overweight; daytime sleepiness or lack of concentration; dozing off while driving; morning drowsiness; and continuously waking up to breath.
Do all people who snore have Sleep Apnea?
Generally, people who suffer with sleep apnea also snore. But, not all snorers have sleep apnea. Some people snore because of nasal issues such as sinusitis, a deviated septum, or enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
What types of medical specialists treat Sleep Apnea?
There are several medical fields that specialize in the treatment of, and therapy for, sleep apnea. Each medical field has a connected with the body’s heart, lungs, and brain. The specialties are: Cardiology (heart), Pulmonology (lungs), Otolaryngology (ears, nose, and throat), Neurology (nervous system), and Dentistry (teeth and tongue).
How is Sleep Apnea treated?
There is no one best procedure for sleep apnea. Rather, there are different treatments and therapies that doctors will custom design for each patient to help keep the airway passages open. The most typical methods are:
Sleep apnea machines; dental devices worn during sleep cycles; alternate sleep positions; lifestyle changes such as weight loss, smoking cessation, and limitations on caffeine, wine, and alcohol; and potential surgery to correct facial and nasal problems.
Can I still travel if I have Sleep Apnea?
Yes, people with sleep apnea can travel away from home. People who use a machine while sleeping can either take the machine with them or arrange with their physician or supplier for the use of a compact traveling unit. Individuals who use a small device that does not require electricity only need to pack the unit in with their other items.