Sleep Apnea Causes Constant Tiredness

January 29, 2013

Untreated OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) has been linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, work-related accidents and depression. According to the American Sleep Association, OSA affects more than 12 million Americans.

The Food and Drug Administration regulates the safety and effectiveness of devices, including the device most often used to treat OSA—the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, commonly known as CPAP.

Sleep Apnea and Tiredness

The Greek word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” With sleep apnea, your breathing pauses multiple times during sleep. The pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and can occur 30 times or more an hour. Sometimes when you start breathing again, you make a loud snort or choking sound.

Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses. The less common form, central sleep apnea, happens if the area of your brain that controls breathing doesn’t send the correct signals to your breathing muscles.

According to Eric Mann, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of FDA’s Division of Ophthalmic, Neurological, and Ear, Nose and Throat Devices, you may be unaware of these events since they happen while you’re sleeping.

Because you partially wake up when your breathing pauses, your sleep is interrupted, and you often feel tired and irritable the next day.

 

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