Sleep Apnea Definition and What Causes Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea

Do you know what is sleep apnea? Most people don’t know the sleep apnea definition. Sleep apnea is a serious respiratory disorder that is caused during sleep in which the airways are blocked due to slacking and narrowing the throat wall. When you sleep, the throat muscles can relax and weaken. Under normal situation, this condition does not interfere the breathing. But in people with sleep apnea, the muscles become too weak, causing narrowing or obstruction of the airways that interfere the breathing.

Sleep Apnea Definition
Sleep Apnea Definition

Types of Sleep Disorder

There are two types of respiratory disorders in sleep apnea patients, they are apnea and hypopnea. Apnea occurs when the entire airways are blocked for about 10 seconds. When apnea, oxygen levels in the blood drops so the brain tells us to wake up and try to breathe again. While hypopnea occurs when the airways narrow to more than 50 percent and result in short and slow breathing. Hypopnea usually occurs for about 10 seconds. All a night, sleep apnea patients may have apnea and hypopnea repeatedly.

The severity of sleep apnea can be measured through the apnea-hypoponea index by measuring the frequency of respiratory disorder during sleep within 1 hour. For mild levels, respiratory disorders occur 5-14 times within an hour. For medium levels, respiratory disorder occurs 15 to 30 times per hour. Whereas in severe cases, respiratory disorder may occur more than 30 times within an hour.

Sleep apnea is divided into three types, i.e obstructive, central, and complex sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, where the throat muscles slacking. While central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not send signals well to the muscles that regulate breathing. Meanwhile, sleep apnea complex is a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea.

Symptoms of sleep apnea can be experienced at any age. Sleep apnea is often not realized by the sufferer that their respiratory disrupted during sleep. This repetitive sleep disorder can cause the body become tired and drowsy during the day.

The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Here are some of the symptoms experienced by sleep apnea sufferers:

  • Snoring loudly.
  • Often stopping breathing and then breathless.
  • Breathing heavily and noisily.
  • Difficulty sleeping well at night or insomnia.
  • Wake up with dry mouth or a hoarse throat.
  • Dizziness in the morning.
  • Drowsy in the morning.
  • Excessive sweating at night.
  • Often waking up at night to urinate.
  • Easy to get angry.
  • Depression.
  • Decreased sexual arousal or erectile dysfunction in men.

It is advisable to see a doctor immediately if a person experiences some of the above symptoms, especially if the symptoms are already interfere with daily routine.

what causes Sleep Apnea

When sleeping, the muscles behind the throat that support the soft tissues from the ceiling (uvula), the tonsils, the throat side wall and the tongue, slacking. This causes the airways to narrow or close as we inhale so that we do not get enough oxygen supply. The situation is felt by the brain that reacts to wake us up to open airways. These obstactive sleep disorders usually occur very briefly and recur in an hour. While other sleep disorders or sleep apnea central make us unable to breathe a moment when the brain does not send signals to the respiratory muscles. As a result, we find it difficult to continue to sleep soundly or wake with shortness of breath.

Sleep Apnea Definition and What Causes Sleep Apnea


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