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Sleep & Oxygen Blog

VitalAire Sleep Talk™: Sleep Apnea Explained

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - Facts about sleep
Sleep apnea testing

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you know that it is relatively common.  At VitalAire, we have the tools and information you need to treat your sleep apnea and get a good night’s sleep.  One of the most important steps you can take in your therapy is understanding what your diagnosis means. 

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a person to stop breathing many times through the night, for periods lasting at least 10 seconds. 

It is diagnosed by healthcare professionals through the use of sleep studies. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems.  VitalAire offers the best treatment options available in addressing sleep apnea.

The most common form of this disorder is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), caused when the upper airway is blocked. This can happen for a number of reasons: collapsed soft tissue at the back of the throat (most common), relaxed throat muscles, a narrow airway, a large tongue, or extra fatty tissue in the throat.  Some of these features can be hereditary, meaning that sleep apnea may run in families.

There are two other common types of sleep apnea. Central Sleep Apnea is a cerebral disorder and occurs because the brain doesn’t send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing during sleep. Complex Sleep Apnea is a combination of the other two types (Obstructive and Central).

Some risk factors for developing OSA include: 

  • Having diabetes (particularly type 2),
  • Being overweight,
  • Smoking,
  • High blood pressure,
  • A recessed chin, and more

An Obstructive Sleep Apnea diagnosis is the first step to treating this disorder and helping you enjoy a healthier, more rested life.  If you think you are experiencing symptoms of OSA, contact your doctor.  If you are currently benefiting from CPAP therapy, be sure to schedule regular follow-ups with your VitalAire clinician.

Tags: CPAP therapy tips Sleep apnea