If you’re not sleeping well, if your partner complains that you snore loudly or you’re finding yourself excessively tired and having trouble concentrating during the day, you may have sleep apnea. It’s a common disorder that should be diagnosed by a doctor.
The two most-often diagnosed types are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. The bottom line for both is that your breathing is disrupted while you sleep, waking you up sometimes dozens of time during the night, depriving your brain of oxygen and often resulting in fatigue, difficulty focusing and even worse physical problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
If you have sleep apnea, chances are, you’ll be told you need to sleep with a continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP.
Positive airway pressure is like blowing air into a balloon but in this case the balloon is the patient’s throat; when there is air in the balloon (the throat), then the sides of the balloon (the soft tissues in the throat) cannot collapse and the tissues in the throat are propped open. The forced air functions much as a stent would. It is not oxygen therapy, but oxygen can be added.