What’s Causing My Sleep Apnea?

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More than 20 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a chronic condition that causes dozens or even hundreds of breathing interruptions all night long. Unfortunately, often these interruptions are so brief, you may suffer from apnea and not even know it.

As a top medical practice with offices in Dallas, Houston, Arlington, and Fresno, Texas, JAM Wellness offers sleep apnea treatment, helping patients sleep better and reduce their risks of serious apnea-related medical problems. Here’s why apnea happens and how it affects your health.

Sleep apnea: Types and symptoms

There are three kinds of sleep apnea. The kind you have will help determine what type of treatment you need. 

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea. OSA happens when the muscles at the back of your throat relax too much and wind up sagging down into your airway, temporarily blocking it. 

OSA is more common among people who:

Knowing your risk factors also helps ensure you get prompt treatment.

Central sleep apnea (CSA)

Far less common than OSA, CSA happens when your brain doesn’t send normal breathing signals to the muscles that control breathing during sleep. CSA is more common among people who have a history of heart conditions or stroke. It can also happen when sleeping at high altitudes. 

Complex sleep apnea

This third type of apnea is actually a combination of OSA and CSA. People who experience this type of apnea have muscle laxity along with brain-signaling problems.

Apnea symptoms

Snoring is a common symptom for many people with sleep apnea. But not everyone who has apnea will snore. Knowing these other signs of apnea can help you seek treatment as soon as possible:

  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Feeling tired even after a full night’s rest
  • Dry mouth or sore throat when waking up
  • Morning headaches
  • Problems concentrating during the day
  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Waking up gasping for air, choking, or snorting

If you have any of these symptoms — even without snoring — scheduling an apnea evaluation is important to determine if you’re at risk for apnea-related health problems.

The dangers of sleep apnea

All three types of sleep apnea interrupt your breathing while you sleep, and that means they all deprive your brain and other organs of oxygen. While it’s true that each interruption is brief, people with apnea tend to have dozens or even hundreds of interruptions every night. Even a single interruption can be dangerous, but when you have many interruptions, the risks increase dramatically. 

Studies show apnea is associated with increased risks of serious health problems, like:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure

When treating sleep apnea, our team focuses on treating the cause of apnea, as well as the potential risks.

Treatment options

Your treatment will depend on the type of apnea you have, along with other factors unique to you. Treatment options include:

  • Using CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy to assist in opening your airways during sleep
  • Oral devices to shift your jaw forward, opening your airway
  • Procedures to “unblock” nasal passages
  • Treating underlying issues, like heart disease or obesity

Even though apnea may not seem like a “big deal,” the consequences can be serious — even life-threatening. Early treatment is the key to reducing your risks of serious problems — and to finally getting good quality sleep.

Make apnea treatment a priority

Sleep apnea needs prompt, ongoing treatment to relieve your symptoms and reduce your risk of serious medical complications. If you have any sleep apnea symptoms, don’t delay seeking care. Book an appointment online or over the phone with JAM Wellness today.

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