Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Overview, Causes and More

Obstructive sleep apnea symptoms

You must have heard about many breathing problems, but did you ever encounter something related to sleep? No, well then, you must read about Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It is one of the most commonly found respiratory problems associated with sleep, where the person suffering from it has no idea of any such difficulty.

What is this about? In simple words, Obstructive Sleep Apnea causes your breathing to stop and start periodically when you are sleeping. It is one of the world’s most predominant forms of sleep apnea. This kind of apnea happens when the muscles in your throat sporadically relax and close off your airway.

You must have heard people around you snoring while sleeping, right? Well, it is one of the most common and audible Obstructive Sleep Apnea symptoms. There are many medications for obstructive sleep apnea. Like, there are devices in the market that employs positive pressure that helps you keep your airway open while you sleep at night. It is one of the most common therapy options. The next choice would be to use a mouthpiece to lower your jaws while you sleep.

In some extreme cases, surgery can also be recommended by medical professionals.

Let’s start with understanding the causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

If the muscles at the back of your throat are relaxed too much, then it causes you to have the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea since it prevents you from having normal breathing. These back muscles support the tongue, uvula, tonsils, and the tissue that hangs over the soft palate.

So, when you breathe in, the airway becomes narrow, making it difficult to breathe correctly for 10 seconds or more. Your blood’s oxygen inundation may decline as a result, and carbon dioxide levels may rise. This difficulty in breathing is then detected by your brain muscles and wakes you up from your sleep so that you can reopen your airways and breathe properly. This revelation is so short that the one suffering from it hardly recalls doing so. Breathing snags that arise upon emerging can be easily committed with one or two deep breaths. However, at times it is possible that the person suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea could choke, snort or gasp while the airways are narrowed.

This problem can happen from 5 to 30 times or more every hour in a single night’s sleep. Sounds scary, right? Well, the person suffering from it is likely to experience restorative sleep that results in them feeling sleepy during the day.

What are the risk factors?

Anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea. Yet, certain factors put you at increased risk, including:

  1. Overweight– Most people suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea are overweight. However, this is not definite. One can face breathing problems that are caused to the excess fat accumulated around the airway. This problem can also happen due to medical conditions that are connected to excess fat, such as hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome.
  2. Age– It is a very important factor contributing to this apnea. People who are around their 60s or 70s are more likely to have Obstructive Sleep Apnea than younger people.
  3. Narrow Airways– There are people who are naturally born with small airways, or their tonsils usually expand and obstruct the airway. These people are at high risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
  4. Hypertension– People suffering from blood pressure problems are more prone to have sleep apnea.
  5. Smoking– Smokers are more susceptible to suffering from Obstructive Sleep apnea.
  6. Medical history– A family history of obstructive sleep apnea may make you more prone.

Obstructive sleep apnea symptoms

Now that we know what Obstructive Sleep Apnea and the risk factors is involved, the next and the most important thing to know would be to understand the symptoms of this problem. One major symptom that is seen in most of the patients is daytime drowsiness. Next would be poor sleep quality where the brain and other body parts receive less oxygen.

Those who sleep in the same bed as OSA sufferers can report the following symptoms:

  • loud snoring
  • gasping
  • choking
  • snorting
  • interruptions in breathing while sleeping

These symptoms are frequently found when a dissimilar ailment is looked into or when performing routine health screenings.

The subsequent signs and symptoms may also be present in OSA patients:

  • morning headaches
  • feeling disgruntled or grumpy
  • forgetfulness
  • drowsiness
  • repetitive awakenings throughout the night

Now that you know about Obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, get help right away to feel better.

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I am Swati Khandelwal, health and fitness enthusiast and Graduation in Physical Education from Delhi University. I generally write and share my knowledge on health and fitness to help people to reach their fitness goals.

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