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1. What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder caused by an interruption in breathing during sleep. As a result of this, the body including the brain does not receive enough oxygen. This breathing pauses can be for a few seconds to minutes and may happen around 30 times or more in an hour. A person with sleep apnea is generally not aware of this condition as it does not result in full awakening.
2. What are the types of sleep apnea?
The types of sleep apnea are:
obstructive sleep apnea - the more common type, occurs due to airway blockage
central sleep apnea - caused when the brain fails to send correct signals to the muscles that help in breathing
complex sleep apnea syndrome - also called treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, which is caused when a person has obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea together
3. Is there a specific age group who are at risk for sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is very common and can affect a person of any age group, including children. In children, it is mostly caused due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids. It is more frequently observed in adult men than in women.
4. What are some of the risk factors for sleep apnea?
Some of the risk factors include:
Having a family history of sleep apnea
Having large tonsils and tongue
Having deviated nasal septum, allergies or sinusitis
Being over age 40
Having a large neck circumference
5. What can happen if sleep apnea is left untreated?
If sleep apnea is left untreated, it can lead to serious consequences such as high blood pressure, depression, accidents caused by falling asleep while driving, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other such ailments.