What Happens When You Have Sleep Apnea

What Happens When You Have Sleep Apnea

Have you been having a difficult time sleeping lately? You may say to yourself it’s just stress, or snoring runs in your family and shrugs it off. But you can be making a big mistake, you can have sleep apnea and if you don’t know what happens when you have sleep apnea you need to read this entire article.

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that affects your breathing pattern as you sleep. This is a chronic disorder that so many people have, but 80% go undiagnosed, which causes further medical problems leading to chronic disorders that cause premature death.

So, if your partner tells you to snore, or you have difficulty breathing at night when you sleep, or you just can’t seem to get through the day without feeling like you have no energy to continue on, you might have sleep apnea.

This article is going to tell you what happens in your body when you have sleep apnea, what causes it, who’s at risk for it, and how you can get help from a specialist.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that prevents you from breathing as you sleep. The word apnea means “no breathing”. When you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea there can be 3 different categories of sleep apnea you will find yourself in. After you find out the type of sleep apnea you have, it then is determined if it’s a mild, moderate or severe.

The three types of sleep apnea are:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  2. Central Sleep Apnea
  3. Mixed Sleep Apnea (Complex Sleep Apnea)

These types of sleep apnea have a category of mild, moderate, or severe depending on your results from testing. We will talk about testing later.

Now you know what sleep apnea is, let’s learn a little bit about causes it.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

The types of sleep apnea are caused by three separate reasons, they each work differently and must be handled specifically to the type.

For instance, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused by relaxation of the throat muscles as you sleep, this causes your airway to be blocked. This obstructs airflow partially or entirely.

Central Sleep Apnea occurs when communication between the brain and the central nervous system has a problem communicating when you are sleep. Moreover, because you’re not told to breathe you are holding your breath until you gasp for air.

The last type of sleep apnea is mixed. This happens to be a combination of OSA and CSA. This is the most severe.

Some easy to recognize symptoms are:

  1. Headaches first thing in the morning
  2. Snoring so loud you wake yourself up or others
  3. Excessive sleepiness during the day
  4. An inability to focus on tasks during the day

These are just a few, there are many more, speak with your primary care doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Who is at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

Just like anything health-related, there are risk factors that increase your chances of having sleep apnea, so you must pay attention so you can see the signs and get help if needed.

A study showed that 4% of men and 2% of women have sleep apnea however only about 10% seek help and treatment. This leaves so many people vulnerable to long-term health problems because of sleep apnea.

Risk Factors

Obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Being a male but as mentioned early women can have OSA to, higher likelihood after menopause.
  • Being an older adult, OSA happens more commonly in older people.
  • Family history plays a huge role if your family member has it you are at risk
  • Smoking increases your risk by more than 3 times what it would be if you did not smoke
  • Nasal problems increase chances, whether allergies or anatomical issues, this increases the risk.

Central Sleep Apnea:

  • Age plays a part, being older is a risk factor
  • Having a heart disorder increases your risk. For example, CHF (congestive heart failure).
  • Using narcotics and opioid medication can easily suppress the nervous system which increases the risk for CSA. For example, Methadone would increase the risk.

What is happening inside your body?

It’s time to discuss what’s happening inside your body when you have sleep apnea. As we said earlier sleep apnea stops you from breathing as you sleep. This begins to cut the oxygen supply to your brain.

Now we both know how important oxygen is for your brain. Studies show that after just 60 seconds of no oxygen to the brain, the damage is done that permanently alters the brain’s chemistry. When you are sleeping you may hold your breath for 10 seconds, 20 seconds or more.

As your brain becomes deprived of oxygen your heart works harder, increases blood pressure, and putting stress on your heart. You are also holding on to carbon dioxide which causes your blood to thicken over time, causing increase strain on the heart and poor circulation throughout the body.

Clots can form because of thinking blood, which can cause a stroke and ischemia (decrease blood flow throughout an organ) causing a heart attack or tissue death elsewhere in the body.

How Are You Diagnosed?

The best way to get diagnosed is to talk to your primary care physician about your sleeping patterns and how you feel throughout the day.

Loss of memory, being irritable, and insomnia are more symptoms that would help your doctor understand your situation. If your doctor wants to know more, he will refer you to a sleep specialist.

A skilled sleep specialist often is an MD specializing in the art of sleep medicine, and sleep disorders.

What You Can Expect from a Sleep Study

After being asked some questions by the sleep specialist, and you meet the requirements for a sleep study, you schedule a time to return a technician will put electrodes on your head and body. This monitors your brain waves, the increase of your chest wall as you sleep, and your airflow through your nose and mouth.

After your sleep study, your sleep doctor will view the results. They will diagnose you, giving you the next steps on how to improve your sleep. That can be through CPAP, Oral Appliance, or something else.

In Conclusion

Sleep apnea is serious, you learned what it is, how it can affect your body, and the risk factors involved. Sleep Better Columbus, Dr. Levy, and staff are here for. If you are suffering from sleep apnea or are unsure, we can help.

Speak with your physician to get a referral and let us help you. Or just give us a call at (614) 362-7292. We can answer any questions you may have about how sleep studies work. Knowing what happens when you have sleep apnea gives you the advantage to get help right now, so be like the other people walking around ignoring the signs. Use your awareness and improve your health today. Call us at (614) 362 – 7292.

What Health Problems Can Sleep Apnea Cause?

What Health Problems Can Sleep Apnea Cause?

What health problems can sleep apnea cause? Questions like these are asked by sleep study specialist. Doctors that focus on the disorders that interrupted sleep cause.

There are several thousand people around the globe that have sleeping disorders that wreak havoc on their bodies. Causing disease, stress, and other accidents that affect the people around them. You can be one of these people experiencing symptoms and promoting unforeseen health conditions indirectly and not even realize it.

In this article, you will learn what problems in your health sleep apnea will cause or worsen and what steps you can take to make sure you stop these disorders from getting worse or manifesting.

With this in mind, let’s begin with an overview of what sleep apnea is and then merge into how you can recognize the way you’re feeling, common symptoms sleep apnea causes, and how you can get the help you need.

 Do You Suffer from Sleep Apnea?

Getting the help, you need starts with knowing the answers to the questions you have. Ironically you may suffer from sleep apnea and pawn it off as just a poor night’s rest. The word apnea literally means without breath. As a result, sleep apnea is the loss of breathing as you sleep. Knowing this you can see how serious this condition is.

You can suffer from 1 of 3 kinds of apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is when the muscles in your throat relax and your airway is obstructed (blocked) also called (OSA).
  • Central Sleep Apnea: This is a disconnect between your brain and your nervous system that signals you to breathe as you sleep (CSA).
  • Complex Sleep Apnea (Mixed): This form of sleep apnea is a combination of both OSA and CSA apnea disorders.

You can be suffering from one of these sleep disorders, you can stop breathing multiple times throughout the night. Consequently, the longer the apnea time lasts the more severe the case.

What about symptoms? How can you tell if sleep apnea is something you should worry about? In the next section, we briefly highlight some symptoms.

Do You Suffer from Sleep Apnea?

You might, and if you do this brief list will give you some evidence to move forward, in your research to get help. The symptoms can overlap between Central Sleep Apnea and Obstructive Sleep apnea. Keep in mind OSA is the most common predominately found in men.

Sleep Apnea Signs and Symptoms

  1. Difficulty staying focused or paying attention throughout the day.
  2. Waking up in the middle of the night, or from a nap gasping for air.
  3. Difficult time staying asleep or have insomnia.
  4. Morning headaches are often a reason of sleep apnea.
  5. Snoring excessively loud, interrupting partners or spouses from their rest.
  6. You are very irritable after you wake up.
  7. You have an extremely dry mouth when you wake up.
  8. Day time sleepiness is increased.

In this list we have given you a few of the most common symptoms, experiencing these symptoms is a sign you should see a sleep study specialist. The sleep study test At Sleep Better Columbus can gauge what your body is doing and select the best steps to take moving forward.

After all, the prevention of disease is just as important as maintenance.

Leading us into what sleep apnea can cause. The risk factors because of sleep apnea are high and a price you don’t want to pay. Let’s find out exactly what’s involved if sleep apnea goes untreated.

What Health Concerns Does Sleep Apnea Cause or Worsen?

Sleep apnea left untreated can affect anyone suffering from it. You are not exempt, if you have this chronic disorder and you ignore it, your health will deteriorate because of it. Being excessively overweight, a thick neck circumference, or an abnormally smaller airway are just a few risk factors associated with OSA.

Heart problems and high blood pressure – When you stop breathing your body is no longer receiving oxygen, this decrease in blood oxygen levels adds stress on your heart and causes it to increase your blood pressure OSA increases your chances of hypertension.

Liver problems – If you suffer from sleep apnea you can increase scarring on your liver.

A decrease in brain functions – Oxygen is essential for the brain, in an emergency a brain that is deprived of oxygen (Anoxia)  for 60 seconds or more experiences brain damage. And will never be the same again. Adding that up over hundreds of nights of sleep with apnea paints a horrific picture.  Loss of memory and other cognitive skills will suffer because of sleep apnea.

Type 2 Diabetes – Your risk for developing type 2 diabetes becomes higher, it’s been shown that sleep apnea reduces insulin resistance.

Cardiovascular Disease – Sleep apnea increases your risk or worsens cardiovascular disease. The fact is without oxygen in a constant flow, tissues of the body die. And the brain decides to only pump blood to the vital organs eliminating supply to those areas of the body that are less vital for sustaining life.

As you can see if you suffer from sleep disorders it doesn’t just give you a headache, it can and will affect your health over a lifetime.

In Conclusion

Fail to pay attention to how you feel and your sleeping patterns can severely impede your health, destroy a relationship and cause you to injure others because of lack of sleep if you’re operating a car or machinery at work. In this article you learned what sleep apnea is, and that there are three primary sleep disorders.

Secondly, you can see getting help is available to you through Sleep Better Columbus. Dr. Levy and the compassionate staff have been helping sufferers of sleep apnea and snoring for years with innovative and helpful technology.

This makes it easy for you to improve quickly. And even get a sleep study done in the comfort of your own home. Give them a call at (614) 362-7292 and let them invite you into a one on one relationship that caters to your needs. What can sleep apnea cause is a frightening question?  But you don’t have to find the answers alone.