What is Sleep Apnea?

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a chronic condition that involves an interruption of breathing during sleep. There are several possible causes for this but the most common in adults is related to the relaxation of the throat muscles. The resulting lapse in breathing can contribute to many medical problems including: poor sleep, drowsiness and lowered levels of oxygen in the blood. As many as 18 million Americans suffer from this condition which is frequently undiagnosed and can have a significant effect on the sufferers’ health.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Depression & Mood Swing Memory Problems

OSA is linked to depression as well. When sleep is disrupted over and over, it can alter brain activity and neurochemicals that affect a person's mood and thinking. And this is the reason researchers from the study believe why the OSA sufferers showed the likeliness of 5 times of suffering from clinical depression.

“One study shows those with OSA were five times as likely to suffer from clinical depression.”

UCLA researchers found that impaired breathing during sleep can lead to a serious brain injury that disrupts memory and thinking. Their hypothesis is that during an apnea episode, the brain's blood vessels constrict, starving its tissue of oxygen and causing cellular death. The process also incites inflammation, further damages the tissue.

“UCLA Researchers found the sleep apnea patients' mammillary bodies were nearly 20% smaller, particularly on the left side.”

You will likely wake up with a dry mouth when more sleep time spent with an open mouth. When sleep apnea patients have many apnea/hypopnea episodes during a ‘sleep’ night, the instinctive physiological response to an apnea event is to open the mouth to allow as much air in as possible.

“A study shows OSA patients are twice as likely have dry mouth than those who just snore.”

During episodes of sleep apnea, the body is alerted to wake enough to reopen the airway. By this time, the heart is racing and experiences a false signal of fluid overload, excreting a hormone-like protein that tells the body to get rid of sodium and water.

“Many patients with untreated sleep apnea report 6+ nightly trips when 1~2 times during the night to urinate considered normal.”

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat and block the airway during your sleep. It restricts the flow of oxygen and causes snoring or gasping.

“About 50% of people who snore loudly have OSA.”

When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow during sleep, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep. As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.

“Being sleepy can affect you in the same way as drinking alcohol.”

Various pathophysiological theories have been proposed for sleep apnea headaches such as:

  • Increased intracranial pressure (ICP)
  • Sleep fragmentation or depression
  • Changing in oxygen saturation during sleep
  • Cerebral vasodilation

“Morning headache, usually bilateral and with a duration of less than 4 hours, caused by sleep apnea.”

Check Our Sleep Apnea Video