Category Archives: Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea afflicts several million people in the United States. The most common form is obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA as it is often called.
Sleep apnea is a cessation, or interruption, of breathing during sleep. The cause of OSA is similar to that of snoring. When the airway becomes constricted enough, breathing will stop and oxygen will be blocked from the lungs. Each time breathing is blocked, oxygen in the bloodstream falls, and the heart must work harder to circulate blood. Blood pressure rises and the heart may beat irregularly or even stop.
Signs of sleep apnea include:
- Choking or stopping breathing during sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Irresistible urge to nap or sleep during the day
- Limbs jerk during sleep
- Waking up tired or thirsty
Virtually all of us snore from time to time. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 25 percent of us snore regularly. For some, snoring is no more than an occasional, incovenient habit; but chronic, heavy, loud snoring can be more serious.
Snoring usually occurs when a person’s airway at the back of the throat constricts, causing air to be inhaled at an increased speed and pressure. This results in the soft tissue in the back of the mouth vibrating, creating the snoring noise.
Simple snoring can disturb others and cause a dry mouth or sore throat. Heavy snoring is often a symptom of sleep apnea which is frequently associated with hypertension, stroke and other cardiopulmonary problems.