It is commonly known how much of a nuisance snoring can be, but is it something that could be potentially dangerous to your overall health?
Snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea, where there are repeated pauses in breathing at night.
A complete absence of breathing at night is referred to as an “apnea.” and a partial reduction is called a “hypopnea”. Individuals who have sleep apnea have frequent apneas and hypopneas throughout their sleep typically without knowing this is occurring although they may be told of snoring and might find their sleep non-refreshing. With sleep apnea, the brain and the rest of the body may not get enough oxygen which results in light broken sleep and over time may cause serious medical disorders including heart disease. .
While sleep apnea can occur at any age (even children), people over 40 and people who are overweight are the most common recipients.
While loud snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea, some of the other symptoms of sleep apnea include waking up with a sore or dry throat, occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation, sleepiness or lack of energy during the day, sleepiness while driving, morning headaches, restless sleep, forgetfulness, mood changes and a decreased interest in sex, recurrent awakenings or insomnia.
The two main types for sleep apnea are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: where the throat muscles relax to the point where the airway closes or goes narrow, thus blocking air when you try to breathe in. When the brain senses the inability to breathe, people most often wake up when this happens in order to reopen the airway. This awakening is so brief that people often don’t remember it. Your partner may notice a choking, snorting or gasping sound when this happens.
- Central sleep apnea: when your brain doesn’t send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. In this case, people often wake up with shortness of breath and they have trouble falling and staying asleep. People with central sleep apnea often remember the awakening. It is often caused by heart failure or a stroke.
The most common treatment of this disorder is the CPAP machine, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It works by blowing a steady stream of air into the airway. The flow of air is adjusted until it’s strong enough to keep the airway open while you sleep. This is the most common treatment for adults with moderate to severe sleep apnea
While not everyone who has sleep apnea snores, loud snoring that is followed by periods of silence is a cause for concern, especially if you wake up as a result from this.
If you or someone you know might have sleep apnea, see your doctor to obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Need a new CPAP or mask? Check out PapSmart.com – Canada’s Premier Online CPAP store.”