Sleep apnea a sleep disorder that affects a person’s normal breathing when asleep. Sleep apnea is a serious disorder and if left untreated, the individual can stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. It can even happen to a hundred times. When this occurs, it means that the brain, as well as the rest of the body, is deprived of oxygen.
Sleep apnea is divided into two types: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA – is the most common of the two types. This occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep and will cause blockage of the airway.
Central sleep apnea – this type does not have the same occurrence as the OSA. The airway is not blocked, however, it is the brain that fails to send an appropriate signal to the muscles to breathe. In this case, the condition occurs because of the instability of the respiratory control center.
Complex sleep apnea syndrome – also called treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. This type occurs when an individual has obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
The Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea can sometimes be the same between obstructive and central sleep apnea, making the type of sleep apnea difficult to distinguish. The most common symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:
- Snoring – loud snoring is the main sign of obstructive sleep apnea
- Instances where the breathing stops of a sleeping individual and mostly witnessed by another person
- When an individual is awaken followed by shortness of breath it can likely indicate that what he or she suffered was central sleep apnea
- Dry mouth and sore throat upon awakening
- Insomnia or there is difficulty in staying asleep
- Hypersomnia or there is excessive daytime sleepiness
- Problems with focusing or attention problems
- Irritability is also common
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax causing the airways to narrow or close when you inhale causing adequate air inhalation. This will lower the oxygen level in the blood. The brain sensing the breathing problem would wake you up so that you can reopen your airway. This awakening is so brief that you won’t even remember it.
There will be choking, gasping or snorting sound from the individual who has sleep apnea. This pattern can repeat itself 30 times or more each hour. Because of these disruptions, this will greatly impair the individual’s desired amount of sleep.
With central sleep apnea, the less common form occurs when your brain fails to transmit signals to the breathing muscles.
If you think you are suffering from Sleep Apnea you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Sleep Apnea as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).