Sleep Apnea: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Health Risks

Have you been experiencing breathing difficulties during sleep? You might be suffering from sleep apnea. In this article, we’ll discuss the definition of sleep apnea, enumerate its most common symptoms, causes, and health risks, and give you some of the treatment options that your doctor may advise. If you’re all set, let’s get straight into it.


What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder wherein the patient experiences several extended pauses in breathing during sleep. These involuntary breathing lapses usually affects the patient’s supply of oxygen and quality of sleep, both of which may lead to serious health conditions. Depending on the severity of the case, the pauses in breathing can take place from five to 100 times an hour.

Sleep apnea is a common health issue in the United States, affecting about 22 million Americans. This is why the CPAP machine and CPAP cleaner industries are popular in the country.

Sleep Apnea - CleanFlash CPAP Cleaner

3 Types of Sleep Apnea

A patient may suffer from any of the following types of sleep apnea:


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea. It is characterized by repetitive episodes of breathing pauses due to blockage in the airway at the back of the throat.


Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

CSA arises when your brain temporarily stops sending signals to the muscles involved in your respiratory system, leading to shallower and slower breathing.


Mixed Sleep Apnea

As its name suggests, mixed sleep apnea, also known as complex sleep apnea, applies to people who suffer from both OSA and CSA.

CleanFlash CPAP BiPAP Cleaner Sanitizer - Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Signs and symptoms

The most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are, but are not limited to:
  • Distorted breathing during sleep, especially when you experience pauses in breathing for up to a minute (a.k.a. apnea events)
  • Loud snoring
  • Uncontrolled daytime sleepiness
  • Fatigue and mood swings
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Decreased or limited focus, learning capability, memory, motor skills, and reflexes
  • Often waking at night to urinate
  • Dry mouth or sore throat in the morning

If you experience any of these symptoms, please speak with your doctor right away for proper diagnosis and treatment of your condition.

Causes

Sleep apnea can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including your lifestyle, medical condition and physical structure. Some of the most common causes, as well as the factors that may increase your risk for sleep apnea, are:
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Smoking
  • Nasal congestion
  • Large tonsils, neck or tongue
  • Heart or kidney failure
  • Premature birth
  • Sleeping on your back
  • Genetic syndromes (i.e. down syndrome, cleft lip and cleft palate)
  • Hormonal disorders (i.e. hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome)
  • Neurological conditions (i.e. stroke, post-polio syndrome)

Diagnosis

Sleep apnea can be diagnosed based on a sleep study, some physical exams and your medical history. Your doctor may request for blood tests and/or an ultrasound to determine if you have hormonal or endocrine problems. You may also undergo an electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiogram and tests for arterial blood gases.

 CleanFlash CPAP BiPAP Cleaner Sanitizer - Snoring Due to Sleep Apnea

Treatments

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may be advised to do a CPAP therapy, the first line of treatment for sleep apnea. This requires you to acquire a CPAP machine or a bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine to help keep your airway open during sleep through wearing a mask. 

If your doctor recommended you this type of treatment, please take note that you have to keep your CPAP machine clean before each use to prevent dust, germs, bacteria and other particles from entering your body and from potentially making you sick. The best way to keep your CPAP machine clean is by using an efficient CPAP cleaner that can remove bacteria up to 99.99%.

Here at CleanFlash®, we offer a CPAP machine cleaner that uses both ozone and UV light for safer and more effective cleaning. Our product comes with a two-year warranty, is lightweight, portable, user-friendly, and uses only one button to start/stop.


Mouthpieces

Some doctors advise patients with mild sleep apnea to visit their dentist or an orthodontist for a custom-fit mouthpiece device that they can wear while they sleep. These mouthpieces can help open your upper airway for easier breathing.


Surgery

If you have severe OSA and do not respond to a CPAP machine or a mouthpiece, you may be recommended to undergo a surgery that removes the tonsils, a surgery that moves the upper and lower jaw forward to make way for the upper airway, or a surgery that makes a hole from the front of your neck or windpipe to help you breathe better.


Lifestyle Changes

Aside from the abovementioned treatment options, your doctor may also recommend you to make lifestyle changes to help control or treat your breathing difficulties during sleep. These may include losing weight, avoiding smoking and drinking, sleeping on your side, eating heart-healthy food and exercising on a regular basis.

CleanFlash CPAP BiPAP Cleaner Sanitizer - Sleep Apnea

Health Risks Linked to Sleep Apnea

If left untreated, sleep apnea may increase your risk for chronic, serious or life-threatening conditions or problems such as:
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Liver problems
  • Memory loss
  • Pneumonia
  • Weakened immune system

Since sleep apnea can leave you mentally foggy and less attentive, it may also put you at risk for accidents, falls and other injuries.

CleanFlash CPAP BiPAP Cleaner Sanitizer - Mild Sleep Apnea

Final Thoughts

Sleep apnea affects millions of adults in the United States. But the good thing is, this condition is treatable. If you are suffering from sleep apnea and are using a CPAP machine for treatment, our cost-effective CPAP sanitizer can help you keep your machine safe and ready before each use.


To learn more about the features of our CPAP cleaner, please feel free to read our frequently asked questions or fill out our contact form. We’re ready to answer your questions or concerns 24/7.





Sources
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Healthline
SleepFoundation.org
American Sleep Apnea Association

Medline

Images
Winterville Dental
Sleep Review Mag
Insider
Raleigh Capitol ENT

 

 

 

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