Snoring & Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Snoring is noisy breathing during sleep.

Usually snoring indicates some blockage of upper airway-Nose, Nasopharynx, throat and larynx). When air passes through partially blocked passage, tissue vibrates and noise is produced.

Snoring could be an indication of some deep-rooted health ailment—both in adults and children. Snoring can also be indication of obstructive sleep apnea, in which case it should be immediately shown to ENT Specialist and treated. Untreated sleep apnea can cause serious complications.

Obstructive sleep apnea is cessation of breathing for 10 sec or more during sleep due to complete collapse of narrow airway. During apnea blood oxygen level drops. This can continue throughout the night without that person being aware of it. This condition can be accompanied by snoring.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is more common in men than in women. Men, who generally have thicker necks, and weigh more than women, stand at a higher risk of developing OSA. However women who develop larger necks and gain weight after menopause have a substantially higher probability developing sleep apnea. People with a family history of obstructive sleep apnea are at increased risk of developing the condition.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Snoring
  • Dry throat/headache in the morning
  • Waking up from sleep with a choking or gasping sensation
  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Restless Sleep
  • Irritability, lack of concentration, decreased interest in Sex

When children suffer from sleep apnea, the external symptoms may be open mouth during sleep, snoring, nasal speech, or peculiar sleeping postures. These symptoms, however pronounced, often go unnoticed by parents till the children start performing poorly in school, show learning disabilities or frequently wet their beds.

OSA may be diagnosed in a sleep clinic or even at home by sleep study, which includes sensors attached to different parts of the human body. If you think you may be suffering from OSA, then you need to visit a sleep specialist after reviewing the initial symptoms. Your doctor will usually ask you a number of questions regarding the symptoms. The doctor may even conduct a complete physical examination to measure the blood pressure, heart rate etc. The main objective of this initial visit is to rule out the possibilities of other health problems causing similar symptoms.

Complications of Untreated Sleep Apnea

When sleep apnea or OSA is left untreated, the health conditions may lead to:

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure, which increases the risks of heart attacks and strokes.
  • Traffic accidents due to excessive fatigue and drowsiness during the daytime. Research has shown that OSA patients are up to 12 times more prone to car accidents.
  • Type 2 diabetes: OSA has also been linked to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes due to the increased blood sugar (glucose) level in a human body.

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