During sleep the muscles in your throat naturally relax. This narrows the breathing passage and creates the perfect condition for noisy vibrations to occur during both inhaling and exhaling. The sound created can vary greatly. Many people just view it as an annoyance or don’t want to address it because it is embarrassing, but it can truly be harmful if not taken seriously.
FACT: About 70% of Loud Snorers Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Untreated snoring can lead to obstructive sleep apnea, heart problems, respiratory problems and pain such as headaches, weight gain, fragmented sleep and result in daytime sleepiness that can put you in dangerous situations such as falling asleep behind the wheel of a car.
It is important to find out the cause of your snoring.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the upper airway collapses during sleep, causing breathing to stop. While asleep, the factors that keep your airway open do not function the same way that they do during the day.
As you fall asleep the muscles of the airway relax as your body relaxes and the brain’s control over breathing changes. When the airway collapses, the soft tissue causes an obstruction to the flow of air into your lungs and you actually stop breathing. As a reaction, your body quickly wakes you up so that you can breath again. This is called a micro-arousal. In patients with sleep apnea, arousal can happen 50-100 times per hour – that is sometimes more than once per minute!
Having continuous disrupted nights causes a tremendous amount of daytime sleepiness and can predispose you to a number of health problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke and heart attack.
- Do you snore?
- Has anyone ever said that you stop breathing during the night?
- Do you ever wake up feeling like you are choking or gasping for air?
- Are you sleepy during the day?
- Are you having trouble working or concentrating?
- Do you fall asleep while reading or watching TV or a movie?
- Have you ever almost fallen asleep while driving?
If any of this sounds familiar, it is important to get a sleep test, which can be done in the comfort of your own home, to find our if you do in fact have sleep apnea and the possible treatments for it.