There are two types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by tissue in the airway that blocks the passage of air during sleep. Central sleep apnea is caused by the brain and nervous system affecting the impulse to breathe. This website will only discuss causes and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
Chronic snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious medical condition. Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing or reduce the depth of your breathing by at least half during sleep for 10 seconds more. Some people do this hundreds of times an hour while they sleep, which is considered severe sleep apnea. This stopping or reducing the depth of breathing during sleep causes oxygen levels to decrease, depriving your body and organs of the oxygen they need.
While snoring can be disruptive to bed partners, obstructive sleep apnea is associated with a decrease in REM sleep (deep, restful sleep) for the patient.
Patients suffering from sleep apnea often experience:
Sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea can result in:
More serious complications of sleep apnea include an increase in the risk of developing hypertension, heart failure, pulmonary diseases, stroke, heart attacks and cardiac rhythm abnormalities, which is what makes sleep apnea treatment so important to one’s health.
It is important that chronic snoring is distinguished from obstructive sleep apnea, due to the significant health consequences associated with the disorder. Only a physician can determine if you have sleep apnea.
If you or a loved one has a chronic snoring problem, you should seek medical evaluation from a sleep specialist as soon as possible. Contact an Atlanta snoring doctor today to schedule an expert evaluation. Our practice diagnoses and treats both adults and children suffering from sleep apnea.