What Is Sleep Apnea?
Snoring and sleep apnea are often confused, but it is important to know the difference between the two. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that is even more hazardous to your health than normal snoring.
As I’ve mentioned before, snoring itself is not so dangerous. The causes and effects of snoring are. However, sleep apnea itself is dangerous.
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing temporarily while sleeping. A long enough pause in your breathing at any time is dangerous enough, let alone the fact that you are sleeping when it happens. You are basically helpless when this occurs.
The length of the pauses in your breathing can vary and so can the frequency. Some of these pauses can last as long as several minutes, so this is no joke. They have also been known to happen up to thirty times in just one hour.
Think about that. If you have sleep apnea you could basically be suffocating for almost half the time you spend sleeping.
What Sleep Apnea Can Do To You
The causes and effects of snoring may be serious, but the effects of sleep apnea can really ruin your life. Sleep apnea has been known to damage certain areas of the brain due to the lack of oxygen it causes.
This is actually something that a good doctor will look for when checking for sleep apnea.
Unfortunately things only get worse from there. The specific areas of the brain that can be damaged by sleep apnea are very important to our everyday lives.
The areas affected by the lack of oxygen are involved with thinking, motivation, mood, and aggression.
Perhaps the scariest thing about sleep apnea is the fact that most people who suffer from it never know. This condition must be observed by another person to even be suspected in the first place. Those with sleep apnea often don’t have a clue.
Sleep apnea can reduce your overall quality of life. Don’t let it. There are options out there but first you need to be diagnosed and know what kind of sleep apnea you have.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Just as there are different types of snoring, there are three different types of sleep apnea. The type that is the most common is called obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. As the name implies this is caused by obstruction of your airway during sleep.
The two other types are central sleep apnea and mixed sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea, or CSA, is caused by insufficient breathing effort. This is very rare. Mixed sleep apnea is a mix of central and obstructive sleep apnea. The mixed variety is rare as well, but more prevalent than central sleep apnea.
To be diagnosed with sleep apnea a sleep study is necessary.
There are a few different kinds of sleep studies, but the one needed to check for sleep apnea is called a polysomnogram.
Normally sleep studies are performed in a sleep lab but there are some at home alternatives available.
They are just as effective in checking for sleep apnea.
It is important to know the difference between snoring and sleep apnea.
You could even save your own life.