Understanding Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. These pauses in breathing can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes and can occur multiple times per hour. There are three main types of sleep apnea:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): This is the most common form of sleep apnea, caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
  2. Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): In CSA, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center.
  3. Mixed Sleep Apnea: This is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

    • Loud snoring
    • Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person
    • Gasping for air during sleep
    • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
    • Morning headache
    • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
    • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
    • Attention problems

    treatment options


    • Weight Loss: Excess weight can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea, so losing weight can often improve symptoms.
    • Sleep position: Sleeping on your side, rather then your back can sometimes alleviate symptoms.


    CPAP involves wearing a mask connected to a machine that delivers a continuous flow of air to keep the airway open during sleep.


    Theses devices help to keep the airway opened, by bringing the jaw forward.


    In some cases surgery may be recommended to remove excess tissue from the throat or repositioning the jaw


    Devices or methods to help encourage sleeping on one’s side rather than on the back, which can help prevent airway obstruction.

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