What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or a reduction in breathing of 90 percent or more during sleep. These pauses affect the sleeper's sleep quality and the body's oxygen level.
What are the Types of Sleep Apnea?
There are three main types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): This type of sleep apnea is caused by the relaxation or obstruction of tissues in the airway. It is often associated with factors such as snoring, high blood pressure, obesity, and being overweight.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA): This type of sleep apnea occurs due to communication problems between the brain and respiratory muscles. Respiratory muscles cannot receive signals from the brain and therefore breathing may stop.
- Mixed sleep apnea: This type of sleep apnea combines both obstructive and central sleep apnea features.
Types of sleep apnea often differ due to breathing times and levels during sleep, airway obstructions, and respiratory muscle coordination problems. Each type has different symptoms and treatment methods. Therefore, it is important to consult a sleep specialist for correct diagnosis and treatment.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea symptoms can differ from person to person and can vary depending on the type and severity of sleep apnea and other factors. Some common sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Loud snoring: The most common symptom is loud snoring. Especially people with obstructive sleep apnea have very loud and regular snoring sounds.
- Respiratory pauses: Breathing pauses may occur during sleep. These pauses can last a few seconds or longer and are often accompanied by snoring.
- Feeling of waking up from sleep: The feeling of not being able to breathe or having difficulty breathing during sleep may cause a person to wake up from sleep. This waking sensation can affect the quality and duration of sleep.
- Daytime sleepiness: People with sleep apnea always feel tired and sluggish during the day and struggle with sleepiness.
- Headache: When you wake up in the morning, you can usually feel a headache.
- Night sweats: People with sleep apnea may wake up frequently due to night sweats, heart palpitations and inability to breathe during sleep.
Sleep apnea symptoms can vary depending on the type of sleep apnea and a person's lifestyle.
What are the Treatment Types of Sleep Apnea?
Different methods of sleep apnea treatment can be used depending on the type and severity of sleep apnea and the general health status of the person. Some common sleep apnea treatments include:
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Therapy: This treatment method ensures that the airway remains open by providing a continuous airflow to the patient's airways. CPAP allows people with sleep apnea to achieve a normal quality of sleep before disturbing their sleep and correcting their breathing problems.
- Intraoral devices: These devices relieve sleep apnea symptoms by keeping the airways open during sleep. Intraoral devices are specially designed by dentists and adjusted according to the patient's oral structure and needs.
- Surgery: Some cases of sleep apnea may require surgical intervention. Surgery may involve operations on areas that affect the airways, such as the sinuses, nose wings, uvula, tongue, or throat, to keep the airways open.
- Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes can help relieve sleep apnea symptoms. These include losing weight, limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and exercising regularly.
- Tongue exercises and therapy: Exercises to strengthen the tongue and throat muscles can help relieve sleep apnea symptoms. Sleep therapy is also a method used to relieve sleep apnea symptoms.
Sleep apnea treatment can vary depending on your individual needs and symptoms
Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Yes, sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous condition. Sleep apnea is a condition in which the quality of sleep is severely impaired due to repeated pauses in a person's breathing during sleep. This can lead to insufficient oxygen intake and the accumulation of carbon dioxide. It can cause or worsen a variety of health problems, including sleep apnea, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health problems.
In addition, sleep apnea can affect daily functions by causing attention deficit, memory problems and insomnia, and can negatively affect work performance, school performance and daily activities.
It can be dangerous for people with sleep apnea to work in high-risk occupations (eg drivers, pilots, construction equipment operators, etc.), and it is important to treat people with sleep apnea. Treatment can help reduce symptoms and improve sleep quality, as well as help prevent or improve health problems.
Spc. Dr. Özgür İNCE
Chest Diseases Specialist