Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that affects countless people around the world. While the symptoms may seem mild, they can make everyday life hard on those who suffer from it. In this article, we will be going over what causes sleep apnea, its symptoms, how many per hour is normal, and what treatments are available.
If you are someone who thinks that they are suffering from sleep apnea, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible! The earlier you get diagnosed, the quicker you can start treatment and start living life to the fullest again.
How Does Sleep Apnea Work?
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes people to stop breathing for a certain amount of time as they sleep. There are 3 main types of sleep apnea, and they are obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea.
There are two main reasons that sleep apnea occurs. The first is when the throat and soft tissues in the throat are too relaxed, creating a blockage. This blockage causes a loss of oxygen flow, which disrupts sleep.
The second reason that sleep apnea might occur is neurological. The signals that the brain sends to the body and muscles to breathe might not be working properly. This is usually due to other underlying medical issues such as Parkinson’s. Usually, once an underlying issue has been healed, the person no longer has sleep apnea.
Scientists and doctors are still unsure as to why this may happen, and there are countless studies still being done. Luckily, modern medicine has found a few solutions around this in the meantime.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea?
Not everyone with sleep apnea shares the same symptoms, but most people will have a few in common. The most common symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring, waking up gasping for air, dry mouth, daytime fatigue, insomnia, headaches, trouble paying attention, and trouble concentrating.
The most common symptom is episodes where sufferers stop breathing completely. Most people don’t even realize it is happening to them until someone else tells them. If you suspect that it may be happening to you, you should try recording yourself sleeping.
Sleep apnea can be very dangerous. While these symptoms seem mild, they can lead to pretty big consequences. Untreated sleep apnea can cause patients to develop type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, heart palpitation, stroke, and even heart attacks.
It is also important to note that over the last few years, studies have shown a link between sleep apnea and obesity. The added weight around the neck can cause a blockage in the soft tissues in the throat. Losing even 10% of your body weight can help get rid of this problem. If you are someone who is obese, then this may be your answer.
That is why it is so crucial to get diagnosed early. Doing so will help prevent serious health consequences and allow you to start treatment quickly.
How Many Sleep Apneas Per Hour Is Normal?
While scientists and medical professionals are still studying sleep apnea and what causes it, the most common number that appears is 4. It is normal for a person to have up to 4 sleep apneas per hour.
While the number itself doesn’t seem too large, if you are trying to sleep for up to 8 hours, that is over 32 in a single night!
Waking up 32 times from not being able to breathe is sure to disrupt anyone’s rest. It is not uncommon for people with sleep apnea to wake up multiple times throughout the night and not be able to get a deep sleep.
The next day, sufferers are fatigued and are unable to concentrate or perform even the smallest of tasks. This can be frustrating, and there have been studies that have linked sleep apnea to anxiety and depression.
What Treatments Are Available?
The most common treatment that a doctor will recommend to patients suffering from sleep apnea is a breathing machine. This machine has a mask that a patient will wear while sleeping. The machine slowly pushes air through the mask and into the lungs.
While it can be uncomfortable for some, it is adjustable so each patient gets the right amount of air. The more extreme treatment that a doctor might recommend is an operation to remove some of the soft tissue in the throat.
If these options don’t sound too appealing to you, there are some alternative remedies that work as well. Quite a few people recommend trying acupuncture. It is said to open up the energy flow within the body, but there is no certainty that it will work.
Some helpful tips to try at home include sleeping in a cooler room, sleeping with a body pillow to avoid rolling over onto your back, investing in a humidifier, and breathing in essential oils such as peppermint.
If you live somewhere where the climate is dry, the humidifier will add moisture back into the air. It will keep your throat from drying out, and you can also add essential oils such as peppermint or eucalyptus to help open your airways while sleeping.
It is also important to note that lifestyle plays a big role in sleep apnea. Obesity, cigarettes, alcohol, and certain medications can also make sleep apnea worse. Leading a healthy lifestyle, eating healthier foods, and exercising regularly can make a world of difference if you are suffering from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is not something that is often discussed, but a lot of people all over the world seem to suffer from it. It is something that doesn’t discriminate and can affect the elderly, adults, children, and even babies.
While the symptoms themselves may not be severe, they can lead to greater illnesses. It is also difficult for doctors to diagnose sometimes. If you feel that you have sleep apnea, make sure to get a second opinion.