Sleep Apnea is a breathing disorder during sleep and typically is accompanied by loud snoring. The disorder causes brief periods throughout the night in which breathing stops or the person does not get enough oxygen during sleep. There are two major types.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the most common, is due to an obstruction in the throat during sleep causing the upper airway to narrow. Bed partners notice pauses of approximately 10 to 60 seconds between loud snores. This phenomenon can be a result of several factors, including inherent physical characteristics, excess weight, and alcohol consumption before sleep. Central Sleep Apnea, the less common kind, is caused by a delay in the signal from the brain to breathing apparatus.
With both types of apnea you must wake up briefly to breathe, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. Usually there is no memory of these brief awakenings.
The most common symptoms for Sleep Apnea include:
· Loud Snoring
· Waking up unrefreshed and having trouble staying awake during the day
· Waking up with headaches and/or sweating.
· Waking up during the night with the sensation of choking and gasping for air.
· Frequent trips to the bathroom during the night
· Insomnia – problems staying asleep
Sleep researchers have suggested that men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women, and that women are more likely to have sleep apnea after menopause. The use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by postmenopausal women was associated with a lower prevalence of sleep apnea in sleep laboratory tests, with the participants’ risk level slightly less than the already low frequency seen in pre-menopausal women. Postmenopausal women without HRT had a significantly higher prevalence of sleep apnea, though still not approaching that of men. HRT improves sleep generally in menopausal women, reducing hot flashes that disturb sleep as well as improving sleep-related breathing disorders.
If you believe you are suffering from sleep apnea or feel that conventional treatments are not working, we can help. Sleep Apnea has many causes and it is influenced by a number of conditions. We can personalize your individual care to optimize your chances of returning to restful nights.