Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by interruptions in breathing during sleep. Although it can affect people of all ages, it is very common among older adults. Sleep apnea often occurs when the airway is temporarily blocked by soft tissue due to relaxation of the muscles of the throat. This type of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can also be the result of abnormal signaling in the part of the brain responsible for breathing, causing momentary stoppage of breath. This type of sleep apnea is called central sleep apnea, and is more common among people who have experienced heart disease or a stroke. The two types of sleep apnea may appear separately or in tandem.
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder that can lead to complications, and exacerbate existing ailments and illnesses. It is a major culprit in insomnia, interrupting normal sleep and leading to daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and problems with memory and coordination, especially in older adults. Sleep apnea can also worsen cardiovascular disease and liver problems, and increases the likelihood of a stroke.
For people who suffer from sleep apnea, breathing stoppages can occur from five to 30 times every hour. Even when people with sleep apnea don’t remember the brief periods of wakefulness that accompany a cessation of breathing, these episode can severely compromise the quality and quantity of sleep. Additionally, the loud snoring that often accompanies sleep apnea can be very bothersome for bed partners, causing them to lose sleep and suffer from the symptoms of insomnia. Although not everyone who has sleep apnea snores, the snoring that goes along with frequent cessation of breath is one of its telltale signs. Often, a bed partner’s observation of snoring is the first thing that alerts sleep apnea sufferers to the problem.
Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care for sleeping problems. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.