Sleep Apnea is a common disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start while a person is sleeping. These breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and often occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Because of this, the brain, and the rest of your body, may not be getting enough oxygen. This could cause many issues, since the body requires adequate sleep and sufficient oxygen to function properly.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs at night while the person is sleeping, so most people won’t be aware of the symptoms right away. The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea include:
- Snoring (which is typical of OSA, but uncommon with central)
- Observed pauses in breathing
- Extreme daytime sleepiness (also known as hypersomnia)
- Sore throat or dry mouth in the morning
- Shortness of breath causing the person to awaken abruptly
- Insomnia (difficulty staying asleep)
- Headaches upon awakening
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Most people who suffer from sleep apnea are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the airway is physically blocked off. This blockage usually occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea can affect anyone, but is more common in people who are overweight.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include daytime sleepiness or fatigue, dry mouth or sore throat when waking up, morning headaches, night sweats, sexual dysfunction and restlessness during sleep.
The less common type of sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, occurs when the brain fails to send signals for your muscles to breathe. This causes extreme pauses between breaths that could last minutes. While central sleep apnea can occur in anyone, it’s more common in people who have certain medical conditions or use certain medicines.
The sleep apnea doctors at Northeast Georgia ENT will help determine the type of sleep apnea that is causing your symptoms and will work with you to develop a treatment plan.
Call Northeast Georgia ENT at (770) 536-4352 for more information or to schedule an appointment.