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HomeHealthSleep Apnea: Signs, Causes, And Treatment Options

Sleep Apnea: Signs, Causes, And Treatment Options

Sleep is vital for your physical and mental well-being. It allows your body to rest and heal while giving your mind enough time to process information and consolidate memories. Unfortunately, not everyone can get the recommended amount of sleep each night. This is due to various factors like work schedules, family obligations, or simply because they can’t fall asleep.

This lack of sleep can lead to severe consequences like chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, and even heart disease. One of the common disorders that can cause these problems is sleep apnea.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that makes your breathing pause or becomes very shallow while you sleep. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) mentioned that an estimated 18 million American adults have sleep apnea. According to specialists at, it’s a condition that needs attention.

Below are the two main types:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

OSA is the most common condition and occurs when your airway is blocked by soft tissue in your throat.

  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

This condition occurs when your brain fails to signal your muscles to control your breathing.

If you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, you should see a doctor for a diagnosis.

Signs Of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleeping condition that can be hard to detect because it usually happens during sleep. However, some signs and symptoms may indicate you have the condition.

According to Mayo Clinic, here are the most common signs and symptoms:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Waking up feeling short of breath at night
  • Sleepiness or fatigue during the day
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood changes like irritability or depression

If you experience any of the highlighted symptoms, it’s essential to see a doctor so they can determine if you have sleep apnea.

Causes Of Sleep Apnea

Below are several factors that can contribute to developing sleep apnea:

  • Being Overweight Or Obese: Excessive weight can cause the soft tissue in your throat to collapse and block your airway.
  • Smoking: It irritates the tissues in your throat and can contribute to inflammation, narrowing your airway.
  • Nasal Congestion: This can make breathing difficult through your nose, forcing you to mouth-breathe and increasing the risk of developing sleep apnea.
  • Family History: Sleep apnea is often hereditary, so if someone in your family has it, you’re more likely to have it.
Signs Of Sleep Apnea
Mature Woman Covering Her Ears With Headphone While Man Snoring In Bed

Treatment Options For Sleep Apnea

Now that you understand almost everything about the condition, you might wonder about your treatment options. If you feel like you might have sleep apnea, the first step is to visit a doctor or sleep specialist who can help diagnose the condition.

There are different treatment options available for sleep apnea, depending on the severity of your condition:

  1. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy

CPAP therapy is one treatment option that uses a machine to pump air into your lungs while you sleep. The air pressure supplied helps keep your airway open so that you can breathe normally. CPAP therapy is one of the most efficient treatments for sleep apnea, and it can be used to treat both mild and severe cases.

Many people with sleep apnea find that CPAP therapy improves their quality of life by helping them to get a good night’s sleep. It can also help improve daytime fatigue and increase energy levels.

  1. Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliance therapy is a sleep apnea treatment involving wearing a mouth guard-like device during sleep. The device helps keep the airway open by holding the tongue in place or providing support for the jaw.

Oral appliance therapy is often introduced for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea who have difficulty with CPAP therapy or for people who prefer not to use CPAP. In some cases, oral appliance therapy can be combined with CPAP to provide the best possible results.

  1. Surgery

If the above treatment options don’t work, your doctor may suggest surgery. Here are a few different types of surgeries that can be performed to treat sleep apnea:

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

This surgery removes excess tissue in the throat and soft palate. It’s usually done as an outpatient procedure and doesn’t require a hospital stay.

  • Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA)

This surgery works by moving the upper and lower jaws forward to enlarge the airway. This type of surgery is more invasive than UPPP and requires a hospital stay.

  • Tracheostomy

The last type of surgery is the most invasive procedure and involves making an incision in the neck to insert a tube into the trachea. This option is only used when all other options have failed.

Final Thoughts

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can have many negative consequences if left untreated. Talk to a medical specialist about treatment options if you think you’re suffering from sleep apnea. You can get your normal life back on track with proper treatment and start enjoying a good night’s sleep again.



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