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What You Should Know about Sleep Apnea

What You Should Know about Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea may not seem like a serious issue, especially because most of its signs occur during sleep and are not noticeable. But in fact, sleep apnea is a very dangerous health issue that can lead to quickly diminishing health.

Many do not know that there are two types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common type, occurs when the soft tissues in the throat relax, which naturally occurs when we sleep. This causes blockage in the airway, preventing air from entering the system. Central sleep apnea is when the brain stops the breathing function during sleep. Both types cause the sleeper to wake, sometimes dozens of times a night, in order to start breathing again and supply oxygen to the brain. Patients usually do not wake up enough to realize that they are waking up.

Because the most tell-tale signs of sleep apnea occur during sleep, it is important to be able to recognize the symptoms that occur during the day. These include:

• Fatigue
• Moodiness and irritability
• Cravings for unhealthy food and weight gain
• Listlessness
• Dry mouth and throat
• Headaches
• Increased blood pressure
• Depression
• And more

It is also important to know that there are many forms of sleep apnea treatment. Some patients experience results from simply deviating from their normal sleep position. This can include sleeping on the side as opposed to on the back, or using more or less pillows.

Our expert may recommend a mouth guard that works to shift the jaw forward, creating more space in the back of the throat, effectively allowing air through. If these tactics are not successful, a CPAP machine is usually the next step. This machine generates a consistent air flow that is supplied directly into the system.

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