Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder that causes one to stop breathing while asleep because there is a blockage at the back of your throat. You can have apnea without being aware that you have it, but this condition reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain and heart, which can cause serious health issues. The complications from sleep apnea include a decrease in productivity at work or school, car accidents caused by falling asleep at the wheel, and a shortened life span. To avoid this, you need to see a Carthay sleep apnea specialist if you experience any symptoms.
Many symptoms are associated with sleep apnea which includes snoring, gasping for air during sleep, being tired even after a whole night’s rest, and waking up in the middle of the night feeling like you haven’t slept. These symptoms exist because when you stop breathing during sleep, your body wakes up to get you living again. Other signs don’t involve the sounds or movements while sleeping, including mood swings, memory loss, depression, and sexual dysfunction, to name a few.
There are many causes of sleep apnea, including being overweight or obese because excess fat in the throat can obstruct the airway while sleeping. If you are overweight, taking off even a tiny amount of weight can make a big difference. Other causes include allergies, structural abnormalities like the jaw or palate, and other conditions like diabetes. During your sleep apnea evaluation, your doctor will ask about your medical history and conduct tests to rule out other conditions that could be associated with your symptoms.
There are many treatment options available if you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea. They include lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol before bedtime, and changing what you eat and when you eat it. There is also the option of surgery to remove any excess tissue in your throat or jaw causing blockages during sleep or using dental devices that can reposition your jaw at night to maintain an open airway. Losing weight if you’re overweight is essential, but it isn’t the only thing that needs to change for your treatment to be effective.
Natural remedies like a cold compress outside the throat before bedtime can help keep the throat muscles relaxed and reduce snoring, but it’s no substitute for a good night’s sleep.
Medications are also available to help you improve your breathing while you sleep without using surgery. There are many options that range from sprays in the mouth to oral appliances worn in the mouth at night with either a fixed or adjustable position. The use of anti-depressants has been suggested for some people to keep the muscles in the throat from contracting while you sleep, but this can be side-effect prone and come with other risks.
In summary, obstructive sleep apnea is when the airway becomes blocked when breathing is attempted and stopping breathing for short periods while sleeping. Symptoms include snoring, fatigue after a whole night of rest, and gasping for air while sleeping. Treatment ranges from medication to natural remedies and lifestyle changes.