Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Do you wake up frequently in the night gasping for air? Does your partner complain about your snoring and that you suddenly startle in the night? Snoring occurs when something is partially blocking the airway while you sleep. But unlike regular snoring, obstructive sleep apnea can be very serious because the blockage does actually stop breathing, even for very brief periods of time.
What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by a softening in the throat or palate, by abnormalities in your airways, or by lifestyle issues such as excessive drinking or weight. Obesity has been linked to soft tissue in the mouth and throat, which contributes to snoring, so we may recommend weight loss to improve your ability to sleep well.
What Are the Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is often first noticed by a partner. Not only is the snoring typically loud, but it’s also interrupted by periods where your breathing stops which can be very alarming if you’re listening to it. Some symptoms include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Persistent snoring that sounds like you stop breathing
- Waking up gasping for breath
- Falling asleep during the day
Obstructive sleep apnea also has similar symptoms to regular snoring including:
- Sore throat
- Poor concentration
Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Because obstructive sleep apnea cuts off your air supply, even for brief periods, it can be quite dangerous. It’s been linked to heart attacks, strokes, and other serious health conditions.
If you think you may have obstructive sleep apnea, make an appointment to be evaluated.
Obstructive sleep apnea can be deadly. See if you need a sleep test. Speak to your Family Healthcare Professional for a referral.
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