What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea refers to non-breathing episodes during sleep, occurring as many as several hundred times per night. Loud snoring may indicate a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea.
Although the individual may have had a full night sleep, he or she still feels tired during the day. Sleep apnea can occur at any age.
Symptoms while asleep
- Loud snoring, snorting or gasping for breath
- Sudden body movements before the person starts to breathe again
- Excessive sweating during sleep
- Irregular pounding or beating of the heart when gasping for breath
Symptoms while awake
- Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue
- Complaints of insomnia or lack of restful sleep
- Weight gain
- Confusion or brief memory loss upon awakening
- Unexplained morning headache
- High blood pressure
- Personality changes
Treatment of sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is most commonly treated with a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine.
A CPAP machine treats obstructive sleep apnea by providing a gentle flow of positive air pressure through a nasal mask to splint the airway open during sleep. Quality of life is improved by reducing the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, stroke and motor vehicle and work accidents.