Sleep apnea is a medical disorder characterized by reduced sleep quality caused by interrupted breathing patterns during sleep. A pause in breathing for at least ten seconds to as much as 20 seconds is a distinct symptom that point to sleep apnea. A complete stop in the flow of air is coined apnea as well.
Sleep Apnea Indicators
- Taking in less than 25% of normal breath
- Oxygen saturation drop of 4%
These indicators are identified when diagnosis is performed by a sleep disorder specialist. It should be noted that snoring is not totally indicative of sleep apnea. This is due to the fact that not all people with sleep apnea develop snoring problems. Not all snorers are suffering from sleep apnea. Consequently, there are also individuals suffering from sleep apnea who do not snore at all. In order to be properly treated, a medical checkup is but imperative.
Telltale Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
You may be wondering how you will be able to detect apnea during sleep when you are in slumber. There are simple and effective ways of detecting sleep apnea even when you are sleeping:
- Ask another person to observe you while you are sleeping. Advice your bedmate to record all unusual activity and sounds that you may produce while you sleep. Have him or her record the number of pauses or stoppage in breathing for one to two hours. You will be able to calculate the severity of sleep apnea by simply dividing the number of apneas (pauses and stops in breathing) by the number of sleeping hours. The remainder is then measured as apneas per hour and is known to be the sleep apnea index.The greater the value of AI indicates a severe apnea problem.
- Record yourself while you sleep. If you are living alone, you may want to record yourself instead. You can then calculate for the apnea index by yourself or have a sleep specialist evaluate the recording for you.
- Seek the help of a sleep specialist. You may be asked to stay overnight so licensed medical experts can accurately diagnose the severity of your sleep apnea case.
Classic Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
-Hypersomnia or daytime sleepiness
-Presence of loud snoring
-Unusual sounds during sleep like buzzing, wheezing, gasping, and choking
-Frequent use of the bathroom at night time
-Sudden awakenings due to dyspnea of difficulty of breathing
These may not seem to be serious symptoms of sleep apnea. However if you are reported to exhibit these signs and symptoms frequently, you are most likely to be suffering from any of these three sleep apnea disorders:
-Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This is the most common form of sleep apnea. The relaxation of the muscles and tissues posterior to the throat region during sleep causes airway obstruction. The obstruction not only stops the flow of air, but also causes an individual to
snore as well.
-Central Sleep Apnea
This type of sleep apnea is caused by the brain’s inability to signal the muscles in the throat region to move and function in a continuously efficient pattern. Snoring is not a result of central nervous system involvement.
-Mixed Sleep Apnea
In rare cases, there are people who are suffering from both obstruction and central sleep apnea. The treatment option for this ineffective breathing disorder is consists of a combination of medications and interventions geared towards treating obstructive and central sleep apnea.