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Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that occurs during your sleep cycle and can often lead to frequent and loud snoring, as well as an increase in your lack of sleep. It causes your breathing to momentarily become shallow, or stop all together while you sleep. The results include abrupt snoring followed by fatigue throughout the following day due to lack of sleep. There are two main forms of sleep apnea; central and obstructive – obstructive sleep apnea being the most common.
During obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the muscles in your throat relax, ultimately blocking your airway, which then causes you to snore and briefly jolt from your sleep. Due to the relaxation of the soft tissues surrounding your airway such as your throat and tongue, this causes your airway to be momentarily blocked. These pauses in your breathing may last from a few seconds to a minute and restrict the flow of oxygen to your brain, potentially lowering the level of oxygen in your blood. Most people with obstructive sleep apnea are completely unaware their sleep is being disrupting. It can occur for a number of reasons – obesity and excess weight being the most common causes.
There are many risk and effect associated with sleep apnea. The most common being obesity. Trivial factors such as neck circumference and narrow airways as well as hereditary factors, ethnicity, smoking, nasal congestion, use of alcohol and more can effect whether or not you will experience sleep apnea during your lifetime. It is an under-diagnosed sleeping disorder which can potentially lead to complications such as cardiovascular disease.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms; loud snoring, lack of sleep, difficultly concentrating, waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat, irritability, heartburn or morning headache it is important you contact your health care provider immediately.