Sleep apnea is defined by the Mayo clinic as a “potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.” If you snore loudly and/or feel tired even after a full night of sleep, you may be experiencing sleep apnea. Here, we’ve listed the three types of sleep apnea along with some symptoms and when you should consult a medical professional (yes! including a dentist!)
The most common type of sleep apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). If you have OSA, this means that during sleep, your breathing becomes impaired or completely stops due to an obstruction in the upper airway. The obstruction occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax causing the airway to narrow or close as one breathes in resulting in inadequate breathing which can lower oxygen levels in the blood. The good news is that the brain can often sense the inability to breathe and briefly wakes you so your body can reopen the airway. A single event may last up to 10 seconds which may be brief enough not to be remembered. However, a typical OSA sufferer can have hundreds of events per night. These disruptions make reaching deep, restful sleep nearly impossible leading you to feel sleepy during the day.
Another, but less common, form of sleep apnea is known as Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). This occurs when the brain isn’t sending proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. CSA suffers don’t receive proper signals from the brain telling them when to breathe which means they make no effort to breathe for a short period of time. People with CSA often wake up with shortness of breath and have a difficult time falling asleep or staying asleep.
The third type of sleep apnea is called Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome (CSAS). CSAS occurs when a person has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Symptoms of the three types overlap, making some diagnoses difficult to determine. The most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are:
For more information about the signs you could have sleep apnea, read another blog post from us here.
If you think you could be suffering from a form of sleep apnea, please call our office at 906-774-0100 to schedule a free consultation to get on the road to healthier, more restful sleep today!