What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common condition and chronic disorder affecting millions, while sleeping, sleep apnea patients repeatedly stop breathing during the night. Each pause in breathing is called “apnea” – which means “no breath”. This pause typically lasts 10 seconds or longer and happens regularly throughout the night.
How Often Does It Happen?
Some experience 5 to 30 apnea episodes in one hour. When breathing is irregular, carbon dioxide builds up in the bloodstream, triggering the brain to wake the sleeping person and resume breathing.
Why Does Sleep Apnea Happen?
When someone with obstructive sleep apnea (or OSA) sleeps, gravity and muscle relaxation allows the tongue and surrounding soft tissue to fall back into the throat area. This collapses the airway and obstructs the airflow. This condition is further complicated by excessive weight, loss of muscle tone due to aging or excessive tissue in the upper airway. Additionally, sleeping on your back or alcohol use may increase apnea events
Approximately 4 out of 10 CPAP patients do not use their CPAP machine, therefore, they aren’t treating their OSA.
Left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious and life-shortening consequences, including: Drug-resistant hypertension 83%, obesity 77%, erectile dysfunction 40%, congestive heart failure 76%, diabetes 59%, and coronary artery disease 76%.
Continuous Open Airway Therapy also known as COAT provides an alternative to CPAP therapy and has been indicated for patients with mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea and those who fail or decline CPAP therapy.
When we sleep, gravity and muscle relaxation allow the tongue and surrounding soft tissue to fall back into the throat area, collapsing the airway and obstructing air flow. This causes pauses in breathing which can occur hundreds of times per night, which dramatically reduces oxygen levels in the blood, straining the heart.
You may have Sleep Apnea if you:
- Choke/gasp for air in your sleep
- Are tired during the day
- Have poor memory/forgetfulness
- Multiple nighttime bathroom trips
- Have headaches in the morning
Most of the time, the person sleeping is not aware of the breathing stoppages, but their body is, causing them to be tired during the day, which increases the risk of traffic accidents and work injuries.