Sleeping through the night without waking up is routine for most people. For others, lack of sleep, the feeling they can’t sleep at all and the feeling of exhaustion during the day can be signs or symptoms of sleep disorders. Sleep apnea is one of the more serious sleep disorders. Sleep apnea occurs when breathing temporarily stops and starts during sleeping. This is caused by the blockage of the upper airways.
There are two types of sleep apnea - obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea is when the breathing stops and starts due to obstruction of the upper airways. Central apnea happens when breathing starts and stops due to the brain not sending the appropriate signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Symptoms of sleep apnea may include:
- Extreme daytime sleepiness (while sitting or driving)
- Irregular breathing
- Loud snoring
- Dry mouth or sore throat in morning
- Sudden awakenings accompanied with sore throat
- Headaches in morning
- Inability to stay focused
- Sleep deprivation
To diagnose obstructive sleep apnea the doctor will evaluate your signs and symptoms and may recommend a sleep center like The Sleep Center at Mercy for a sleep study. At The Sleep Center at Mercy, doctors administer tests to monitor breathing during sleep. The tests for obstructive sleep may include:
- Nocturnal polysomnography
- Portable cardiorespiratory
Central sleep apnea patients are usually evaluated by a cardiologist or neurologist.
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