Sleep apnea was recently mentioned by Joey on the Good Morning Gloucester podcast. Joey shared his personal struggle as he recently tried to adjust to wearing a sleep apnea mask and joked good naturedly about how the mask can interfere with “sexy time.” I thought this a good opportunity to help increase awareness about sleep apnea risk factors, potential negative effects on health, and possible treatments.
The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask shown here looks a bit like a medieval torture device, yet can have life-saving benefits.
Sleep Apnea – a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Loud snort or choking sound often signifies breathing has begun again. Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. (National Institutes of Health.) More than 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. (American Association of Sleep Apnea.)
Types of Sleep Apnea – The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA.) This most often occurs in people who are overweight but can also occur in with enlarged tonsils and deviated septum.
Central sleep apnea is less common. This disorder occurs if the area of your brain that controls your breathing doesn’t send the correct signals to your breathing muscles. As a result, you’ll make no effort to breathe for brief periods.
Central sleep apnea is more common in people who have certain medical conditions or use certain medicines. Central sleep apnea can occur alone or with obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring is not typical with central sleep apnea.