Do you wake up tired every morning? Does your partner or spouse complain that you keep snoring at night? Sleep apnea may be the issue. But what exactly is it and how is snoring connected to sleep apnea? Let’s take a look!
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that prevents you from having a restful night’s sleep. With sleep apnea, you stop and start breathing several times throughout the night.
The typical cause of sleep apnea is an airway blockage in the throat, and when this happens, the brain sends distress signals and forces you to wake up slightly and begin breathing again. This cycle repeats itself throughout the night, often leading to tiredness when you wake up and/or feeling like you need to sleep long hours.
There are three types of sleep apnea. They include the following:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea disorder. It happens when the throat muscles partially or entirely collapse, thus blocking the airway. This leads to an individual gasping for air and waking up several times during the night.
A typical sign of OSA is snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. According to the National Institutes of Health, people with obstructive sleep apnea risk developing cardiovascular complications such as stroke, coronary heart disease, and heart failure due to inadequate oxygen and excess intrathoracic pressure.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs similarly to OSA, where a person breathes and stops breathing in repetitive cycles. However, the cause of CSA differs from that of OSA. With CSA, the central nervous system, particularly the brain, fails to send signals to the muscles that control breathing. Some consequences of untreated CSA include heart failure, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Complex sleep apnea occurs when a person with OSA also shows signs of CSA. It primarily develops when a patient is receiving OSA treatment. According to the NIH, 20% of patients undergoing OSA treatment with a CPAP develop short-term complex sleep apnea.
According to statistics, most people with sleep apnea snore. However, this does not mean everyone who snores has sleep apnea. On top of that, a significant number of people with sleep apnea do not snore. Because of this, it is essential to note the difference between sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
The typical snoring that almost everyone experiences at least once in their lifetime happens uninterrupted throughout the night.
When it comes to snoring associated with sleep apnea, it starts and stops repeatedly at night, causing you to wake up multiple times per night. Most people do not know that they are snoring at night and it’s often a bed partner, roommate, or caregiver who recognizes an individual’s sleeping patterns.
If you experiencing snoring and other symptoms associated with sleep apnea disorder, it is best to seek treatment.
Keep in mind that while sleep apnea may not seem serious, when it goes untreated, it can lead to long-term health complications, including cardiovascular difficulties.
Some of the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea that you want to watch out for include:
Do you reside in Denver or the surrounding area and suspect that you may be struggling with sleep apnea? The Denver Sleep Apnea Center is here to help you.
Dr. Steven Wilk is our three-time board-certified sleep apnea specialist. He will listen to your concerns and build a treatment plan that is suited to your needs.