Other signs can include:
- Frequent need to urinate during the night.
- Obesity and inability to lose weight.
- Migraine headaches in the morning.
- Waking with a “choking” sensation, “cotton mouth,” or a sore throat.
- Inability to concentrate and poor memory.
- Drowsiness during the day.
- Depression, anxiety, or irritability.
- Reduced reaction time.
Sleep apnea can also be a factor in the risk for diabetes, weight gain, high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease, erectile dysfunction, and lowered sex drive. It impairs driving ability and is a major cause of car accidents.
An apnea is a “pause” for one or more breaths, lasting as long as 90 seconds or these may occur as many as 100 times an hour, depriving the body of the oxygen needed to regenerate cells. There are two types of sleep apnea and some people have both:
1) Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is most common and is due to a physical block of the airway. The lung muscles work properly, but the blockage is due to a large tongue or increased soft tissue in the upper throat that has collapsed when the throat muscles relax during sleep.
2) Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is due to lack of respiratory effort when the brain fails to transmit proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
The body’s reaction to both types is to get more oxygen by partially waking up and gasping for air. The sufferer goes back to sleep briefly, unaware of what happened.
The conventional medical treatment is wearing a device called a CPAP with a mask, which would require you to lie on your back all night and is not easily tolerated by most patients.