Sleep Apnea: Hidden Warning Signs
Sleep apnea is a respiratory disorder wherein breathing stops for brief periods of time, often dozens of times per night.
Three Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three general types of sleep apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) and Complex Sleep Apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: In OSA, the soft tissue and muscles in the throat relax excessively and the airway is temporarily blocked, causing a brief cessation of respiration. The tissue and muscles involved in this disorder are the uvula, tongue, soft palate and tonsils. When breathing ceases, the brain senses the decrease of oxygen levels in the blood and causes a brief period of awakening, enough to cause the individual to resume breathing again. These periods of wakefulness are often so brief that the sleeping individual has no memory of waking from their slumber. Some individuals with OSA may awaken with a snorting, gasping or choking sound, something that sleep partners may notice more than the sleeping individual, who may actually think that they sleep relatively well. However, many individuals with OSA report daytime sleepiness and generally poor sleep quality.