December 2, 2014
What is Sleep Apnea?
• Sleep apnea is an involuntary cessation of breathing that occurs while the patient is asleep. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed. Of the three, obstructive sleep apnea, often called OSA for short, is the most common. Despite the difference in the root cause of each type, in all three, people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. In most cases the sleeper is unaware of these breath stoppages because they don't trigger a full awakening. Obstructive VS. Central
Obstructive- occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep.
Central- occurs when your brain fails to transmit signals to your breathing muscles.
When you're awake, throat muscles help keep your airway stiff and open so air can flow into your lungs. When you sleep, these muscles relax, which narrows your throat.
Normally, this narrowing doesn’t prevent air from flowing into and out of your lungs. But if you have sleep apnea, your airway can become partially or fully blocked because:
• Your throat muscles and tongue relax more than normal.
• Your tongue and tonsils (tissue masses in the back of your mouth) are large compared with the opening into your windpipe
• You’re overweight .The extra soft fat tissue can thicken the wall of the windpipe. This narrows the inside of the windpipe, which makes it harder to keep open.
• The shape of your head and neck (bony structure) may cause a smaller airway size in the mouth and throat area.
• The aging process limits your brain signals' ability to keep your throat muscles stiff during sleep. Thus, your airway is more likely to
Signs and Symptoms
• Waking up with a very sore or dry throat
• Loud snoring
• Occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
• Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
• Sleepiness while driving
• Morning headaches
• Restless sleep
• Forgetfulness, mood changes, and a decreased interest in sex
• Recurrent awakenings or insomnia
• Polysomnography. During this sleep study, you're hooked up to equipment that monitors your heart, lung and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep. You may have a full-night study, in which you're monitored all night, or a split-night sleep study. Diagnosis Continued.
You will most likely be sent to a pulmonologist to have you sleep test results gone over.
If you do have sleep apnea, you will then be referred to a respiratory therapist, who can set you up with a machine.
• CPAP- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
This is a machine that the pressure of the air breathed is continuous, constant and somewhat greater than that of the surrounding air, which is just enough to keep your upper airway passages open. This air pressure prevents obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.
• BIPAP-Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure
-Inspiratory Positive Airway Pressure (IPAP) is a high level of pressure, applied when the patient inhales.
-Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP), a low level of pressure exerted during