Sleep Apnea & Snoring

Most of us don’t think of snoring as something to be overly concerned about, but frequently loud snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea, a common and potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep.

Although sleep apnea is treatable, it often goes unrecognized. Untreated sleep apnea can be dangerous and detrimental to your health, so it’s important to see a doctor if you suspect that you or a loved one might have it.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

The most common type of Sleep Apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Patients suffering from OSA literally stop breathing during sleep, as their breathing airway is obstructed or blocked.  In fact, the word, “apnea” means “without breath.”  When the body is deprived of oxygen, it responds by gagging or gasping for air.  These gasping episodes, or “apneic events,” can last anywhere from 10 – 60 seconds, interrupting the patient’s sleep, even though the patient may not fully “wake up.”

These constant arousals explain why OSA patients chronically feel so tired, even after a full night of sleep.  The exact prevalence of OSA is unknown, but most experts agree the prevalence of OSA is significantly under-diagnosed and untreated.

Common Symptoms

  • Snoring
  • Labored breathing while sleeping
  • Episodes of gasping for air during the night
  • Restless sleep and sleeping in unusual positions
  • Chronic morning headaches
  • Chronic fatigue, even after a full night’s sleep
  • Inability to reach deep sleep (this is called Level 3 sleep and is required for growth and healing hormones to be formed and released into the body)
  • High blood pressure (90% of people with hypertension have sleep apnea and 60% of sleep apnea patients develop hypertension)
  • Increased risk for diabetes, heart attack and stroke
  • Personality, alertness, memory, and behavior changes
  • Memory loss
  • Obesity
  • Acid Reflux (G.E.R.D.)