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Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. The pause in breathing is caused by a blockage in the airway. Each pause typically lasts 10-20 seconds or more. These pauses can occur 20 to 30 times or more an hour. When your sleep is upset throughout the night, you can be very sleepy during the day.

Sleep apnea is very common disorder. Sleep apnea is also called the snoring disease.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are several types of sleep apnea.

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea.
    • The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is the relaxed tongue blocking the throat which results in pauses in breathing.
  2. Central Sleep Apnea
    • Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea
    • Caused by a problem in the nerve pathways that stimulate and control breathing.
  3. Mixed Apnea
    • A brief period of central apnea followed by a longer period of obstructive apnea.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Some common symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • frequent episodes of obstructed breathing during sleep
  • snoring

Can Sleep Apnea be Treated?

Yes. Some common treatments for sleep apnea are: changes in your sleep habits, weight loss, and medication.

Complications of Sleep Apnea

If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause memory loss, weight gain, impotency, headaches, increase the chance of developing high blood pressure, having a heart attack or stroke. Untreated sleep apnea can also increase the risk of diabetes and the risk for work-related accidents and driving accidents.

Sleep Disorder Support Groups


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