SLEEP AND BREATHING
What is Sleep Disordered Breathing?
Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is an umbrella term that describes abnormal breathing during sleep. It represents a spectrum of sleep-related breathing dysfunction ranging from mild snoring to severe sleep apnea.
Snoring: Not "Just" a Social Problem
Snoring can be more than just an inconvenience to your bed partner. It can also jeopardize your own sleep quality as well as compromise your quality of life.
If you’re tired during the day or have unexplained fatigue issues, you may be working too hard to breathe at night.
When your jaw and throat muscles relax during sleep, your airway changes shape and forces air to travel through a smaller opening. The resulting vibration of tissue in the throat is what we hear as snoring. It's the extra effort that you spend to breathe through a constricted airway that compromises your sleep.
Even soft snoring can cause “micro-arousals” (brief interruptions) throughout the night and prevent you from getting deep, restorative sleep. Without treatment, the effects of sleep disruption add up.
Symptoms associated with non-restorative sleep:
Irritability and mood swings
Depression / anxiety
Not only does snoring have short term effects on daily life, it can also have long-term health consequences. Snoring may seem harmless, but it's a sign that shouldn't be ignored. It is the primary “red flag” for a medical condition called obstructive sleep apnea.
SleepWell Solutions can perform a simple, overnight screening to see if your snoring is something that should be taken more seriously.
Sleep Apnea: A Serious Chronic Condition
Apnea literally means "cessation of breath." When you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing over and over throughout the night.
Most people who are diagnosed with sleep apnea suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. If you have (or someone you love has) this type of sleep-related breathing problem, your airway completely collapses in a repeating pattern when you sleep. In effect, you stop breathing because of an obstruction in your airway despite making an effort to breathe.
By contrast, central sleep apnea occurs when your brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. This type of apnea is often associated with other conditions such as heart failure or stroke.
In both obstructive and central apnea, each apneic event results in drop in oxygen. Every time your brain senses a drop in oxygen, your fight-or-flight reflex kicks in and your brain wakes you up enough that you start breathing again. As you can imagine, your sleep quality is dramatically affected because you're brain is constantly waking you up enough to breathe.
Over time, both the sleep disturbance and the oxygen deprivation associated with sleep apnea can lead to significant health problems.
Untreated sleep apnea is linked to:
Depression / anxiety
High blood pressure
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