Types and Causes of Sleep Apnea

Types and Causes of Sleep Apnea

Do you wake up abruptly because you feel you are drowning? Do you get up tired after a night’s sleep? Do you feel that you do not have a restful sleep? Does your partner complain you snore a lot and you seem to stop breathing? Have you sometimes been awakened by your own snoring? If the answers are affirmative, you may suffer from sleep apnea, a problem that can cause problems to your heart as well.

Our breath is generally automatic and is controlled by brain centers that respond to the values of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. But when that control is disturbed, breathing may be interrupted, especially during sleep and it is what is known as sleep apnea. This disorder causes pauses in breathing or makes breathing shallow during sleep. Usually it causes those annoying snoring that have varied the sleep routine of so many couples and that in extreme cases can lead to divorce as well.

Apnea during sleep causes respiration to stop abruptly for a time long enough to cause blood and brain deoxygenation by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide. The pause can last from several seconds to several minutes and can be repeated 30 times or more per hour. Breathing is sometimes normalized with a sound like a choking or a loud snoring.

It is usually a chronic alteration that affects the passage from deep sleep to a more superficial sleep when breathing stops. The result is a poor quality sleep that causes the sufferer to rise tired, the feeling of not having slept well.

Types of Apneas

There are two types of sleep apnea which are as follows;

  • Obstructive
  • Central

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

It is caused by an obstruction in the throat that makes it narrow or block and is very common in obese men who usually try to sleep on their backs.

Central Sleep Apnea

It is due to an alteration in the function of the part of the brain that controls respiration.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

In addition to obesity, smoking, alcohol abuse and some and pulmonary disease as emphysema are causes of obstructive sleep apnea. In some cases, there is a genetic predisposition. It can also affect young children with inflamed tonsils and adults because of the falling of the veil of the palate. The most common solution to sleep apneas is the use of CPAP mask and other CPAP equipment such as pillows.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The most characteristic symptom of this sleep disorder is snoring, in addition to gasping, pauses in breathing, choking, and sudden awakenings.

Long and prolonged sleep apnea can cause severe headaches, need to sleep for more hours during the day or affect our mental activity. It is also common for the person affected by this disorder to sleep very easily, for example when sitting waiting to be seen or watch a movie. In particular cases, it can occur even while driving. It is what is called microsleeps. The person realizes that for a few seconds he has not been attentive. Some have been found against a fence and sometimes this phenomenon hides behind a traffic accident for no apparent reason.

What is a Sleep Study?

The diagnosis of sleep apnea is to measure the value of oxygen concentration in blood. To do this, an electrode is placed in one finger or in the lobe of one ear and another electrode in one of the nostrils to measure airflow and a third electrode in the abdomen to measure respiratory movements. The sleep study with clinical history, physical examination and blood tests allow to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the disorder.


The obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic disorder that requires long treatment. It is important to diagnose and treat for the reason that it may increase the risk of heart failure and pulmonary heart attack or stroke, in addition to arrhythmias and hypertension. The lack of restful sleep can also have other consequences such as a traffic accident or at work.

The most effective measures to treat obstructive apnea is to go through the changes in lifestyle such as quitting smoking, losing weight and avoiding excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. Depending on the severity of the case, it will be advisable to use a device, similar to an oxygen mask, known as CPAP mask. The purpose of CPAP mask is to help in the regularization of breathing while the victim of sleep apnea is sleeping. In special cases, surgery may be indicated with correction of the uvula or palate.

If you snore a lot, it can also help you change posture during sleep, on the side or face down. Making light suppers without alcohol is always a corrective factor in the treatment of sleep apnea. But most importantly do not stop consulting your doctor if you think you suffer from sleep apnea. If you have been advised to use a CPAP mask, you are suggested to visit The Review Gurus where you can find the best CPAP masks. 


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