What Is Sleep Apnea? You may be thinking “Why am I feeling so tired today having slept through the night?” You might not realize that your sleep was interrupted several times an hour when you needed to gasp for air. You can’t remember waking up with a snorting or choking sound and immediately afterwards falling back to sleep.
The above occurrence describes classic sleep apnea symptoms. Apnea means “no breath.” Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing is interrupted for 10 seconds or longer during sleep. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea symptoms are when your throat muscles relax and block your airway causing your breathing to stop.
To help determine the seriousness of your sleep apnea symptoms your doctor or dentist may suggest a sleep study. The sleep study will help them learn how well you breathe during your sleep.
It is important for your doctor or dentist to know how often you experience pauses in your breathing during sleep. The sleep study will assist your doctor or dentist to determine the severity of your sleep apnea.
WHAT IS MILD SLEEP APNEA? WHAT IS MODERATE? AND WHAT IS SEVERE?
- Mild sleep apnea is when your breathing is affected between 5 and 20 times per hour,
- Moderate sleep apnea is when your breathing is affected between 20 and 35 times per hour and
- Severe sleep apnea is when your breathing is affected more than 35 times per hour.
It is likely that you will be asked to complete the Epworth Sleepiness Scale questionnaire to help determine whether you have mild, moderate or severe sleep apnea.
SLEEP APNEA SYMPTOMS EFFECT YOUR DAILY LIFE. DID YOU KNOW THAT…
- If you fall asleep when doing activities requiring a little attention such as watching television you’re likely to have mild sleep apnea.
- If you fall asleep when doing activities requiring some attention such as attending a meeting you’re likely to have moderate sleep apnea.
- If you fall asleep when doing everyday activities such as walking, driving or eating you’re likely to have severe sleep apnea.
AND WHO IS LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE MORE SEVERE SLEEP APNEA SYMPTOMS?
- Individuals who are very overweight—the excess fat around the neck makes it difficult to keep the throat open during sleep by blocking the airway.
- Individuals who are older—the risk of having sleep apnea increases with age.
- Individuals who are male—men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea than women and
- Individuals with large tonsils or adenoids.
Want to know more about sleep apnea? We have a whole section of our site dedicated to answering your questions about what is sleep apnea and what are the sleep apnea symptoms and treatments.
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