Everything You need to Know about Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep apnea is a severe sleep disorder, and it causes breathing problems while you sleep; your breathing may stop or start when you sleep.

This article discusses everything you need to know about obstructive sleep apnea and the available treatments at our Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment near you

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles of your neck relax too much to allow normal breathing. When the muscles relax, they make your airway passage too close or narrow, taking in inadequate oxygen, lowering oxygen levels, and building up carbon dioxide. Your body may sense this impaired breathing and cause you to wake up to open the airway passage. This waking up is always so short that you cannot remember.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The following are the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea

  • Snoring very loudly
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Experiencing difficulty in concentrating, especially during the day
  • Feeling very sleepy during the day
  • Experiencing episodes of stooped breathing while sleeping.
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat.
  • High blood pressure
  • Decreased libido
  • Sweating at night
  • Mood changes like depression or irritability
  • Waking up abruptly during the night accompanied by choking or gasping

Risk Factors of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The following factors increase the risk of you having obstructive sleep apnea

  • Excess weight. Obese people have an increased risk
  • Neck circumference. People with thick necks may have narrower airways.
  • A narrowed airway.
  • Age, sleep apnea affects older people compared to the young
  • It mainly affects the male sex
  • It is hereditary if one of you parent had it you might also suffer from the same disorder.
  • Use of alcohol, tranquilizers, or sedatives
  • Smoking increases the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in your airways.
  • Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and Parkinson’s disease may increase your risk of obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Nasal congestion. If you are experiencing difficulty breathing through your nose, you may develop obstructive sleep apnea.

Diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

During the diagnosis, your doctor at our sleep clinic near you asks about your medical history and conducts a thorough physical exam. Your doctor may also discuss the symptoms that you are experiencing. The doctor will also inspect your mouth or neck for any signs of sleep apnea, and you may also feel a questionnaire on drowsiness, sleeping habits, or quality of your sleep. The following tests may also be done

  • Polysomnogram

Polysomnogram is a test done overnight and requires you to spend the entire night at the hospital. The polysomnogram will measure the activity of each of your organ, which includes an

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG), to measure brain waves
  • Electromyogram (EMG), to check your muscle activity
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), which measures heart rate and rhythm
  • Electro-oculogram (EOM), to measure your eye movement
  • Pulse oximetry test for measuring changes in your blood oxygen levels.
  • Arterial blood gas analysis (ABG) to measure your oxygen content, saturation, partial pressure of carbon dioxide and oxygen, and bicarbonate levels.

Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The treatment’s primary goal is to ensure that your airflow is not obstructed when you are sleeping at night. The following treatments can help you achieve this

  • Weight loss

if you lose weight, you can be able to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Nasal Decongestants

If you are experiencing mild obstructive sleep apnea, nasal decongestants can help treat it. It will help relieve your snoring.

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

This therapy is the first treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. It is administered using a facemask that’s is worn at night. The mask delivers airflow to keep your airways open at night. CPAP is a very effective treatment, and a dental appliance may be needed to keep your jaw positioned forward.

  • Positional therapy

For some people, sleeping on the back can make obstructive sleep apnea worse. Positional therapy can be used to help them learn to sleep in other positions.

  • Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP or BPAP)

Bilevel positive airway pressure machines are used to treat obstructive sleep apnea if CPAP therapy is not effective. These machines have been either set high and low that respond to your breathing. The pressure will therefore change while breathing in or not.

If your obstructive sleep apnea is so severe, surgery may be necessary. The surgery may include Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) or tracheostomy.