Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition in which breathing becomes labored and sporadic during sleep. Doctors treat three different kinds of sleep apnea, which include:
Obstructive sleep apnea: This is the most common form of sleep apnea and occurs when the throat muscles relax and obstruct breathing.
Central sleep apnea: Central sleep apnea is an issue not of the throat but of the brain. In patients with this condition, the brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Complex sleep apnea syndrome: Also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, complex sleep apnea occurs when a patient suffers from both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
While symptoms vary across these three conditions, signs of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea do sometimes overlap, making it difficult to determine which type you may have. Some of these symptoms include:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — which would be reported by another person
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Awakening with a dry mouth
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Difficulty paying attention while awake
Loud snoring can pose a potentially serious problem, however, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, and not everyone who has sleep apnea snores.
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