Health & Wellness

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder consisting of two types: central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not send correct signals to the muscles that control breathing. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when throat muscles relax.

Symptoms can sometimes make it difficult to determine whether or not someone has central sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea, because the symptoms overlap. Breathing cessation, daytime sleepiness, insomnia, snoring, and sore throat are signs and symptoms of sleep apnea.

Both children and adults can have sleep apnea, but there are some factors that might put you at risk, including being male, being older, being overweight, family history, heart disorders, race, smoking, and use of substances, such as alcohol or sedatives.

If you awake from sleep with shortness of breath, if you experience daytime sleepiness, if you notice intermittent pauses in your breathing during sleep, you may want to consult your doctor, as sleep apnea can be potentially serious. Your primary care doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist. Complications from sleep apnea may include high blood pressure, liver problems, memory problems, mood swings, morning headaches, and more. Children with sleep apnea may be hyperactive and may be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).