What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by interruptions in breathing during sleep.

These interruptions can take the form of shallow breaths or complete pauses in breathing, sometimes lasting for seconds to minutes. This condition disrupts your normal sleep cycle, affecting the quality of your rest. Clear Sky Sleep focuses on treatments for sleep apnea and CPAP alternatives.

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

While sleep apnea can affect anyone, certain factors increase the risk. These include:

Excess Weight: Obesity is a major risk factor for sleep apnea. Carrying excess weight, especially around the neck and throat, can lead to sleep apnea by narrowing the airway and obstructing normal breathing.

Age: Sleep apnea is more common in older adults.

Gender: Men are at higher risk, although the risk for women increases if they are overweight, and it’s particularly elevated during and after menopause.

Family History: A family history of sleep apnea can increase your susceptibility to the condition.

Nasal Congestion: Difficulty breathing through your nose due to anatomical issues or allergies can contribute to sleep apnea.

Smoking: Smokers are at higher risk due to inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.

Medical Conditions: Congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and previous strokes are associated with an increased risk of sleep apnea.

Ethnicity: Some ethnic groups, including African Americans, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders, have a higher risk of sleep apnea.

Lifestyle Factors: A sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, and the use of sedative medications can all contribute to sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three primary types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

This is the most common form of sleep apnea and occurs when the muscles in the throat relax excessively during sleep, causing a blockage in the airway.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is related to the central nervous system and happens when your brain fails to signal your muscles to breathe.

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome

(Treatment-Emergent Central Sleep Apnea)
This is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea, often occurring in individuals who have been diagnosed and treated for OSA but experience the emergence of central sleep apnea during treatment.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Common symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Choking
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Frequent awakenings during the night
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability

These symptoms are often associated with a lack of restorative sleep, which can lead to a range of health issues.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

The causes of sleep apnea are complex and multifaceted. In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the relaxation of throat muscles during sleep is a key factor. This muscle relaxation can be influenced by several factors, including obesity, aging, and genetics. In central sleep apnea, the problem lies in the central nervous system’s ability to control your breathing. Complex sleep apnea syndrome typically results from both OSA and a malfunction in the central nervous system.

Why Treat Sleep Apnea

Treating sleep apnea is crucial for several reasons:

Health Improvement: Effective treatment can lead to better sleep quality, reducing symptoms such as daytime fatigue and irritability. This, in turn, can lead to improved overall health.

Prevention of Complications: Sleep apnea is associated with various health issues, including hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Treating sleep apnea can help reduce the risk of these complications.

Enhanced Quality of Life: Improved sleep quality and overall health lead to a better quality of life. Patients often report higher energy levels, improved mood, and better cognitive function.

How can I confirm whether I have sleep apnea or not?

There are several sleep apnea symptoms, such as snoring, many of which overlap with other potential causes. Because of overlapping symptoms, it can be difficult to tell for sure if you have sleep apnea without a professional diagnosis. A test is necessary to confirm sleep apnea episodes and make an accurate diagnosis. At Clear Sky Sleep, we offer at-home testing. This method is cost-effective and accurate and allows you to get tested in the comfort of your own home with normal sleep conditions. Contact us today to learn more. During an initial consultation, our sleep professionals will conduct a medical evaluation and determine if an at-home test is right for you.

Are there sleep apnea treatments in the Overland Park area?

Yes, we offer FDA approved treatments for sleep apnea at Clear Sky Sleep. Our sleep professionals focus on oral device therapy and are committed to also working with you to make lifestyle changes to address sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. If you are looking for sleep apnea treatments in KS, we encourage you to learn more about our dental approach to treating sleep disorders.

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