Sleep Apnea: 8 Questions and Answers You Should Know About
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by brief pauses in breathing during sleep. The pauses cause a partial arousal from sleep and prevent a good night’s rest.
Whether you have just been diagnosed with sleep apnea or think your partner may have the condition, you probably have some questions. Learning more about the disorder and how it’s treated will help you manage the condition, decrease complications and improve your quality of sleep. Below are some common questions and answers.
1. What causes it?
Sleep apnea can occur if your airway becomes obstructed while you’re sleeping. In some cases, the tongue and throat muscles relax and block the windpipe. Structural issues, such as a large tongue or tonsils can increase your risk of developing the condition. People who are overweight are also at an increased risk of sleep apnea.
2. What are the symptoms?
One of the main symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring. Although it’s important to understand, not all people who snore have sleep apnea. A bed partner may also notice your breathing periodically stops for brief periods of time through the night. Since people with sleep apnea have disrupted sleep, they often have excessive daytime sleepiness and may have morning headaches.
3. How do I know for sure If I have it?
The best way to know for sure whether you have sleep apnea is to have a sleep study called a polysomnogram. During the study, a sleep technologist will monitor you while you sleep. When you arrive for your study, the tech hooks you up to various equipment, which monitors your brain activity, blood oxygen levels, heart rate and breathing patterns while you sleep. The results of the study help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.