What Is An Apnea?

What Is An Apnea? by San Antonio, TX sleep expert Dr. Richard Drake.

What Is An Apnea?

Hi, I’m Dr. Richard Drake from Dr. Drake’s Sleep Solutions, and I want to talk to you today about what is an apnea? People ask me all the time. If you had a sleep study we talk about AHI and RDI. We talk about all these numbers that your doctor might have talked to you about.

When we go to sleep at night and we’re trying to breathe, we’re trying to rest, we’re trying to sleep better. If that thing right there, you know that thing called a tongue, that big old tongue gets in the way. [SNORING] When you do that, and you start to snore, where your airway can close down all the way. No air moving at all. We call that an apnea. And when your oxygen level drops three points for longer than 10 seconds and we call that an apnea event. That goes into that number that you get, about how many times you quit breathing at night when you were sleeping.

Now, we also have something called hypopnea. That’s a fancy word for, I’m getting less air through the airway. If you think about I plug my nose up, I’m kind of plugged up all the time anyway if you can’t tell that, and you get put 10 straws in your mouth. And you’re breathing through all 10 of those straws, and then we take one straw away, and we take another straw away, and then we take another straw away, well pretty soon your down to two straws or three straws. I’m still getting there, but I’m not getting this much air. So eventually my O2 starts to drop for a longer period of time. Then I have that same type of thing. And that’s called a hypopnea. And that goes into that number when we look at how many times you quit breathing.

Sleep apnea is not a good thing to have. It’s very hard on your body. And it can cause a lot of issues from high blood pressure, to heart attacks, to strokes, drowsy driving. We have some other videos that you can look at and view as well when we talk about that. So it’s a serious medical condition that you simply have to treat, don’t ignore it.