Sleep apnea is a severe sleep condition that develops when a person’s breathing is interrupted while they sleep. Sleep apnea sufferers who have not been treated stop breathing continuously during sleeping and can occur hundreds of times throughout the night.

If it isn’t treated, sleep apnea could result in various health issues, including hypertension and cardiovascular myopathy and heart failure, heart attacks, and diabetes. If not addressed, sleep apnea may be a cause of impairment in the job or work-related injuries and motor car crashes and underperformance in school among teenagers and children.

The Types Of Sleep Apnea

There are two kinds of sleep apnea: They are central apnea and and obstructive apnea

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is characterised by recurring episodes of total or partial obstruction of the upper airway in sleep. When an apneic attack occurs, the diaphragm and chest muscles are stretched as pressure increases to allow airflow. The breathing process is typically resuming with an intense gasp or body jerk. These events can disrupt sleeping soundly, decrease blood flow to organs requiring oxygen, and cause irregular heartbeats.
  • If you have central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked; however, the brain does not signal that muscles are breathing because of problems in the respiratory control center. Central apnea is a result of the functions of the central nervous system.

Who All Are Affected By Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can be found in approximately 25% of males and about 10% of women. Sleep apnea is a problem for everyone of all ages, particularly people older than 50 and people who are overweight.

Sure physical and clinical signs are typical for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. This includes too much weight on the neck, large neck, and structural defects that decrease the diameter of the airway’s upper part, such as the nasal obstruction or a lower-hanging soft palate, enlarged tonsils, or a small jaw has an overbite.

What Happens When You Stop Breathing?

If you stop breathing, your heart rate is also likely to decrease the longer you are deficient in oxygen. Involuntary reflexes trigger you to become aroused after the time of not breathing. In this case, the heart rate tends to rise quickly, and blood pressure increases.

These are the changes that happen quickly as you cease breathing. But, your body begins to feel the effects for a long time in the event of frequent breathing problems such as apnea. Research suggests a higher risk of developing it, mainly if you stop breathing for 30-times or greater each hour. However, there’s a chance of a possibility even at lower levels.

For example, your blood pressure is likely to increase, the walls of your heart get thicker because of the increased workload, and the structure of your heart alters. It can become more rigid and less flexible because it has more fibrous cells growing between the muscle cells. This can also happen when partners sleep facing each other too close.

These factors make it more likely to develop arrhythmias in the ventricular or atrial region. They can also hinder the heart’s functioning, making it less effective at pumping blood.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea can result from an airway obstruction, which usually occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the throat is weakened during sleep. Sleep apnea is typically experienced by patients suffering from central nervous system disorders, for example, after a stroke or in patients suffering from neuromuscular diseases. It also occurs for patients suffering from heart failure and other forms of kidney, heart, or lung diseases.

What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea?

Most of the time, the early symptoms of sleep apnea are not recognized by the patient but rather by the person sleeping with them. A majority of patients with OSA are not suffering from sleep problems. The most commonly reported symptoms and signs of OSA are:

  • The fatigue or sleepiness of the day.
  • Sleeplessness Nighttime awakenings, frequent.
  • A feeling of choking or gasping can accompany the sudden awakening.
  • Sore throat or dry mouth after waking.
  • Cognitive impairments, for example, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, or irritation.
  • Troubles with mood
  • Night sweats.
  • Urination at night is frequent and frequent.
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  •  Headaches
  • Snoring

People who suffer from central sleep apnea are more likely to have frequent wake-ups or insomnia, but they could feel gasping or choking after the first awakening.

Children’s symptoms may not be so obvious. They could include:

  • Poor school performance
  • Sleepiness or sluggishness is often thought of as lazy in the classroom.
  • The mouth is breathing in the morning and swallowing difficulties.
  • The inward motion of the rib cage while inhaling.
  • Unusual sleeping positions, like sleeping on your knees or hands or even stretching your neck.
  • Extreme sweating late at night.
  • Disorders of learning and behavior (hyperactivity and problems with attention)
  • Bedwetting

The Effects Of Sleep Apnea

If not treated, sleep apnea may cause a range of health problems, such as arrhythmias, strokes, hypertension and cardiac myopathy (enlargement of the muscles of the heart) and heart failure, obesity, diabetes, and a heart attack.

Sleep apnea could cause arrhythmias or heart failure because you are more likely to have high blood pressure if you suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be found in approximately 50% of those who suffer from atrial fibrillation or heart failure. This is the reason adults prefer sleeping on their side.

This is because sleep apnea may result in:

  • Recurring episodes of low oxygen levels (what doctors refer to as hypoxia).
  • Changes in carbon dioxide levels.
  • Directly affecting the heart caused by pressure fluctuations in the chest.
  • Higher levels of markers of inflammation.

Due to the prevalence of sleep apnea, cardiac arrhythmias, and heart failure (essentially an inverse coin toss in determining if a patient is suffering from it).

By Manali