Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) don’t always require a complicated machine to address their condition. In fact, not all patients with sleep apnea snore, either. The term “apnea” is a Greek expression that means without breath, or to stop breathing. With sleep apnea, there are different ways for you to stop breathing in your sleep. Today, we explore the different kinds of sleep apnea, and how they affect your body’s oxygen supply as well as the quality of your sleep.
A Review of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, which is typically marked by periods of pronounced snoring. This is followed by a moment of silence, and then a loud gasp before the cycle begins a gain. Aptly named, obstructive sleep apnea describes a disorder where your airway is blocked by mouth and throat tissues that collapse when you sleep. As your airway grows smaller, air is forced through the shrinking space, causing loud snores as the tissues vibrate violently until the airway is closed. After a few moments, your mind panics from the lack of oxygen and forces your body awake to restart the breathing process, usually with a loud gasp. The constant disruptions (the cycle can repeat itself hundreds of times a night) can rob your mind and body of necessary rest, while oxygen deprivation can damage cells in your brain and body.
What Is Central Sleep Apnea?
Like obstructive sleep apnea, central apnea also involves periods of stopped breathing, though not caused by collapsing oral tissues. Central sleep apnea, which is less common than obstructive sleep apnea and occurs when the brain fails to send the necessary signals to your muscles to breathe, is often the result of a preexisting medical condition. In many cases of OSA, a sleeping device that holds your jaw in a forward position can often help you find relief; in central apnea cases, the underlying cause or medical condition must be addressed. Sometimes, patients may experience a mix of both central and obstructive sleep apnea, which is often diagnosed as mixed apnea.
Find Out if You Have Sleep Apnea
If you have sleep apnea, then our experts can help you find out what kind of sleep apnea you have and how to find the most appropriate treatment option. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling Houston Sleep Solutions in Spring, TX, at (281) 320-2000, or in Pearland, TX, at (832) 564-3508.