Do you snore, or is is a more serious medical condition called Sleep Apnea?
Snoring and Sleep Apnea (OSA) are the result of a narrowed or blocked airway in an individual as they try to breathe while sleeping. Snoring is the result when inhaled air passes thru a narrowed airway which vibrates the loose tissue in the back of the throat making a "snore" sound. Snoring can a benign disorder with social consequences, (meaning that it can be extremely disruptive to your bed partner) or it can be a symptom of a serious medical disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea stop breathing for a minimum of 10 seconds but usually stop a lot longer, sometimes over a minute. The average apnea patient may have hundreds of episodes per night. With each episode, the body has a surge of adrenalin as the body senses that it is starving for oxygen. This "fight or flight" response causes the patient's blood pressure to surge, their heart and respiratory rate to increase, and pulls the patient out of the deep restorative sleep we need to wake feeling "refreshed and rested". Typically, the result is significant daytime sleepiness, lack of energy and fatigue. However, many times patients don't recognize these symptoms, as they have simply gotten used to the way they feel, or they simply chalk it up to "old age". It has amazed me how many patients state, "I didn’t realize how bad I felt", after receiving treatment for their Sleep Apnea.