What are the Top Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated stops and starts in breathing throughout the night. These interruptions can vary in length and can occur hundreds of times a night.
An airway obstruction causes these pauses in breathing for most cases. The blocked airway may result in a snorting or gasping sound as you try to get air, which disrupts sleep. A person who has this disorder may awaken somewhat during these attempts to get more air, but they may not even be aware of it. As a result, they may feel tired despite spending hours in bed, and they may not realize that they have sleep apnea.
In this blog, Dr. Samit Malhotra will explain the top signs and symptoms of this sleep disorder.
What is sleep apnea?
This serious sleep disorder occurs when breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep – sometimes hundreds of times a night.
This means the brain, as well as the rest of the body, may not be able to get the oxygen needed to function well. In addition to daytime tiredness, which can put people at risk of driving or workplace accidents, this disorder has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression.
Are there different types of this disorder?
There are three different types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – This is the most common type and is characterized by partial or complete blockages of the airway during sleep. It’s classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on the number of episodes per hour of sleep.
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) – Less common than OSA, CSA occurs when the brain fails to properly send signals to the muscles that control breathing. This makes your breathing repeatedly stop and start during sleep, but unlike OSA, it’s not caused by a blockage.
- Mixed Sleep Apnea (MSA) – MSA is a combination of OSA and CSA.
What are the top signs of sleep apnea?
Common symptoms include:
- Loud snoring
- Waking up with a very sore or dry throat
- Occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
- Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day, even if you seem like you’re getting enough sleep
- Feeling drowsy while you’re driving
- Morning headaches
- Restless sleep
- Memory problems and mood changes
- Recurrent awakenings at night
What are the treatment options for sleep apnea?
You may be able to treat mild cases of sleep apnea of by changing your behavior in the following ways:
- Losing weight – Even a small weight loss can help reduce symptoms.
- Avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills – These can relax the throat muscles more than usual.
- Sleeping on your side – This is a better position than sleeping on your back.
- Stopping smoking – Smoking can cause the airway to swell.
If other types of treatment are needed, a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) may be used. This treatment utilizes mild air pressure – delivered through a machine that leads to tubes and a mask that you’ll wear – to help keep the airways open.
Other forms of treatment include:
- Oral appliances – Custom-made mouth guards can help keep the airway open.
- Surgery – This may be used in some cases where other forms of treatment haven’t been effective, especially with severe OSA. It includes Inspire therapy, which involves surgically implanting a device on the chest wall that delivers mild stimulation that helps keep airways open.
Where can I find the best sleep apnea treatment in Greenwich, CT?
Dr. Malhotra is a sleep medicine specialist who serves Greenwich, Connecticut and the surrounding areas. He specializes in the comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of sleep-related disorders, including OSA, insomnia, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome (RLS), in addition to other sleep disorders.
If you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), a similar condition, it’s important to see a doctor who specializes in sleep medicine to have your condition properly diagnosed and treated.
Dr. Malhotra is a trusted sleep specialist in CT who is known for accurately diagnosing and effectively treating all kinds of sleep disorders. He is board-certified in sleep medicine and neurology and offers telesleep services to current patients so they can connect with him more conveniently.
Call (203) 653-3519 today, or schedule an appointment using this form.