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Sleep apnea: what it is, causes and symptoms

Sleep apnea: what it is, causes and symptoms
Sleep apnea is a common condition in which breathing stops and starts many times during sleep. That can prevent the body from getting enough oxygen.

Types of sleep apnea

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) : This is the most common type, which occurs when the muscles in the throat relax and block the flow of air to the lungs.
  • Central sleep apnea – occurs when the brain does not send correct signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

Some of the most common symptoms of obstructive apnea and central sleep apnea are:

  • Loud snoring.
  • Episodes where breathing stops while you sleep (something that should be reported by someone else).
  • Gasping for air while you sleep.
  • Waking up with a dry mouth.
  • Headache in the morning.
  • Difficulty staying asleep, known as insomnia.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness, known as hypersomnia.
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake.
  • Irritability.

Causes of sleep apnea

It could be said that there is an imbalance between the muscles that tend to generate breathing in the lungs (mainly the diaphragm) and those that have to open the muscles of the pharynx. When they are not coordinated, and a contraction of the diaphragm is generated at a time when the pharynx is obstructed, a obstructive apnea .

Much less frequently there may be apneas because the respiratory pacemaker at the brain level does not send an order to breathe to the diaphragm, this is called central apnea . They are usually due to other less common medical problems.

The factors that promote sleep apnea are the same as those of snoring It could be said that when the breathing limitation is milder it manifests as snoring , and that, if it worsens, hypopneas and apneas appear, first less frequently and then more frequent and prolonged.

Remember that prevention is better than cure

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