Sleep apnea can be an annoying—and even dangerous—interruption to your sleep. It also effects your waking hours as well as your quality of rest. In order to combat this condition, you must know how and why it happens and the common symptoms.
Dr. Avi Weisfogel has many years of experience in sleep treatment and sleep disorders and is the owner of International Academy of Sleep. He has a BA in biology and psychology from Rutgers University and a DDS from New York University College of Dentistry.
What is sleep apnea?
On a very basic level, sleep apnea is a condition that happens when the upper airway is blocked during sleep. This may occur because of a blockage of the airway, which is the most common variety and is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). There is also a less common form of the condition called central sleep apnea, which happens when the brain stops signaling your throat muscles to breathe.
As with most conditions, sleep apnea can range from mild to severe. But, any severity level of the condition can cause sleep problems and warrants a visit to a sleep apnea specialist like Dr. Avi Weisfogel.
Sleep apnea symptoms
Sleep apnea presents itself in a lot of different ways, but Dr. Avi Weisfogel recommends looking for the following symptoms if you think you or a loved one might have sleep apnea.
Symptoms at Night
- Loud snoring
- Interrupted breathing
- Gasping for air
- Waking up often
Symptoms during the Day
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Headaches when waking up
- Sudden sexual issues
Why does sleep apnea happen?
Sleep apnea can be a genetic condition. Yet, Dr. Avi Weisfogel describes some other common risk factors as well:
- Men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women.
- People who are overweight, over forty, and have a large neck, tonsils, or tongue are prone to the condition.
- If you have certain medical conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), deviated septum, or other nasal obstructions, you’re at risk for breathing problems like sleep apnea.
- Bad lifestyle habits such as excessive alcohol use and smoking can also make you more susceptible to sleep apnea.
- Finally, certain ethnicities have sleep apnea problems than others. In the United States, African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans get sleep apnea more often than Caucasians.
In addition to causing sleep problems, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, a stroke, heart failure or attacks, diabetes, depression, and chronic headaches. Your best bet if you receive a diagnosis of sleep apnea is to consult a specialist, like Dr. Avi Weisfogel. Experts can provide a plan to better manage the condition and reduce its effects on your body.