Do you ever find yourself waking up gasping for air in the middle of the night? If yes, you might possibly have a sleep disorder termed sleep apnea. The primary characteristic of this disorder is the sudden starting and stopping of breathing throughout the night.
Yes, that’s exactly as horrible as it sounds, so if you suspect you may have it, you should get it looked at immediately.
Types of Sleep Apnea
According to the Cleveland Clinic, sleep apnea can disrupt sleep and cause cardiovascular disease and other heart issues, decreased oxygen flow to vital organs, high blood pressure, and many other health complications.
The disorder has three primary types:
1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
The Cleveland Clinic outlines that OSA occurs when the upper airways become obstructed or partially/completely collapse repeatedly during sleep. During an OSA episode, breathing usually resumes after a jerk of the body or loud gasp, as the chest muscles and diaphragm work harder to open the airway.
The Mayo Clinic lists the follows are symptoms of OSA:
- Feeling overly tired
- Periods when you stop breathing at night (to be monitored by somewhere else)
- Waking frequently at night
- Waking up frequently to go to the bathroom
- Waking up choking or gasping for air
- Morning headaches
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Waking up with a sore throat
2. Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
Though the result of CSA is the same as OSA, the former has a different reason for the pauses in breathing. The Cleveland Clinic explains that due to complications in the central nervous system and instability in the respiratory control center, the brain fails to signal muscles properly to breathe. In other words, it’s a repetitive reduction in both your breathing effort and airflow, says pulmonologist and sleep medicine expert Dr. Kendra Becker.
The Mayo Clinic lists the follows are symptoms of CSA:
- Trouble staying asleep
- Morning headaches
- Mood swings
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Waking abruptly in the night
- Feeling shortness of breath after waking up
- Trouble concentrating
- Episodes of abnormal breathing patterns
- Periods when you stop breathing at night
3. Mixed Sleep Apnea
As the name suggests, such a condition exists where you may feel symptoms of both CSA and OSA, though the symptoms of one may be more pronounced.
Whatever the case may be, it is best to consult a doctor immediately if you feel you may have sleep apnea.