Snoring and sleep apnea are common Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB) problems that can affect your sleep, health and quality of life.
Approximately one in every five adults suffer from SDB.
Up to 80% of these are unaware of their condition and remain undiagnosed and untreated.
Snoring and sleep apnea often occur together. Your airway may:
- Narrow, limiting airflow as you breathe
- Vibrate, commonly heard as snoring
- Collapse, so you stop breathing
Obstructions occur during sleep due to:
1. Lack of muscle tone
- When tissues obstruct the upper airway completely, they prevent breathing, they work to suffocate the sleeper
- The sleeper wakes up enough to regain control of the upper airway, breathe again, and then fall back to sleep. This happens from dozens to hundreds of times per night for people with OSA, but they usually don't remember waking
Partially obstructed upper airway
- Each obstruction deprives the body of oxygen and forces it to retain carbon dioxide that it would normally breathe out
- As a result, the body's blood gases get out of balance, and the body is subjected to a 'toxic' environment
- When the body sets off 'alarms' that it needs more oxygen, the brain wakes the sleeper, breathing resumes, and the individual falls back to sleep until the next obstruction occurs
- These obstructions increase heart rate, raise blood pressure, and eventually blunt the body's automatic response system, resulting in increasingly more severe apneas and hypopneas
- The brief wake-ups that people with OSA experience also diminish their quality of sleep, resulting in sleep deprivation
Symptoms from lack of sleep are often what prompt people with OSA to visit their doctor.
These may include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Poor concentration
- Poor memory