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What is Sleep Apnea?

Posted on Jun 12, 2017 by in Health, Medical Condition | 0 comments

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder wherein a person experiences pauses in breathing or has shallow breath during sleep. There are three kinds of sleep apnea, and they are classified depending on what is causing the breathing problem.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: the most common kind of sleep apnea, wherein a person has overly relaxed muscles, especially in the throat area. This results into narrower airways and less adequate breathing.

Central Sleep Apnea: a kind of sleep apnea wherein a person’s brain has continuously failed in giving signals to breathing muscles, so the person completely stops breathing from time to time.

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome: a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

But how can a person know that he or she currently has sleep apnea? The best way is to consult a medical professional, but there are also symptoms they can look out for themselves, such as the following:

  • Difficulty in breathing during sleep, as observed by another person
  • Extreme drowsiness during daytime
  • Snoring loud enough to make it a disturbance
  • Suddenly waking up because of short breath
  • Waking up feeling unsatisfied with sleep
  • Waking up with a dry mouth

These symptoms, however, are not exclusive to sleep apnea. Some of them can surface even if a person doesn’t have sleep apnea. For example, extreme drowsiness during daytime may mean that the person has just failed to get adequate sleep the prior night because of other reasons. The core symptom of sleep apnea is breathing problems.

According to the website of Silent Night Therapy, untreated sleep apnea may lead to medical complications, such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems.


Breathing problems put the body into panic mode, so it has the tendency to release stress hormones that may influence blood glucose levels. This puts patients with sleep apnea at risk of increased blood glucose level conditions, such as diabetes.

Cardiovascular Problems

Struggling for air also means that the body will experience oxygen problems, and this may put a strain to the heart, resulting into high blood pressure, unwarranted heart attacks, irregular heartbeats, stroke, and sudden death.

Sleep Deprivation

Getting inadequate sleep may also result into physical and mental problems, including anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability, and poor mental capabilities, especially in terms of alertness and concentration.

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