Sleep apnea is a common medical issue that often goes undiagnosed for years. The severity of sleep apnea varies by case–from mild discomfort to life threatening. The condition causes a person to stop breathing dozens (sometimes hundreds) of times a night. These constant pauses in breathing may seem insignificant at first, but collectively can deprive the brain from the oxygen it needs to operate. Luckily, once sleep apnea has been diagnosed there are a number of ways to treat it. There are three types of sleep apnea: complex, central and obstructive. 


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) means that the apnea is a result of a mechanical issue–perhaps the muscles at the back of the throat are collapsing. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea and is usually treated through a combination of medication, or in some cases oral surgery. 


Central sleep apnea (CSA) is due to misfires in the brain. For some reason, the brain of a patient with CSA is not able to send the proper signals to the body to breathe. CSA is incredibly rare and is difficult to treat. 


Complex sleep apnea is a combination of central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. The treatment options for this type of sleep apnea are more complex and individualized for each patient. 


Sleep apnea is difficult to diagnose because most people have no idea what their body is doing when they are sleeping. The best way for someone to self-diagnose is to record themselves sleeping. There are many different apps out there that are designed to record noise throughout the night. These recordings are an important first step in identifying sleep apnea. 


Sometimes if a recording isn’t enough, a doctor will request that the patient undergo a sleep study which requires them to stay overnight and be observed by medical professionals. This is the most effective way to diagnose sleep apnea. 


Sleep apnea is a debilitating disease and wreaks havoc on thousands of people around the world because of how difficult it is to diagnose. By spreading awareness of this disease more people will be able to self diagnose and seek out medical help. Visit to learn more. 



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