Hi. It’s Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today is from Jim in Columbia, North Carolina. Can stress or anxiety cause sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can be a cause for concern because it affects the way you breathe when you’re asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, and this is when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes and blocks the airway. This is what causes the accompanying loud snoring. Breathing is interrupted for a number of seconds throughout the night, and when you are asleep, breathing is shallow and you don’t enjoy the deep sleep which is necessary to be reenergized and refreshed for the next day’s activities.
The complications associated with obstructive sleep apnea are heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. There is the danger that because of a difficulty with concentrating, clear thinking is diminished and even driving a car becomes hazardous.
This pattern of sleep deprivation means poor concentration and sluggishness at work or at school. Often it’s accompanied by loud snoring. Sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, weight gain, heart disease and stroke. Another symptom of sleep apnea is waking up with sleep paralysis. People become so afraid of this that they fear sleep and insomnia results.
It isn’t only adults who suffer with sleep apnea. Children can have it as well. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 4 percent of children battle with sleep apnea. Many kids diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder actually have obstructive sleep apnea. With treatment, both children and adults can have their symptoms controlled.
While treatment often starts with behavioral therapy, steering clear of sleeping pills is a good idea because these relax the throat muscles and the airway as well. If you’ve tried lifestyle changes without much success, a sleep specialist can evaluate your symptoms and find other treatments such as using supplemental oxygen while you sleep as well as breathing devices.
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition and this means long-term care and also management.