Sleep Apnea And Snoring

Sleep Apnea And Snoring

Of all the snoring related physical ailments, arguably the most severe and ironically least understood is​ a​ condition called Sleep Apnea. These two words should be emblazoned in​ the minds of​ every snorer, and anyone who lives with or​ cares about the safety and well being of​ a​ snorer.

The word apnea in​ the term sleep apnea derives from the Greek term for absence of​ breathing. That, in​ a​ nutshell, gives a​ sense of​ how dangerous sleep apnea can be; it​ literally refers to​ a​ condition where breathing stops during sleep.

There are two types of​ sleep apnea:

1) Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) - This most common form of​ apnea occurs when throat muscles relax.

2) Central Sleep Apnea - This form of​ apnea occurs when the brain fails to​ send proper signals to​ the muscles that control breathing.

Sleep apnea and snoring are directly linked because during snoring the airway of​ the trachea is​ constantly subjected to​ repetitive collapse and obstruction; in​ fact, it​ is​ that collapse and obstruction that leads to​ the vibration that, ultimately, manifests itself as​ audible snoring. Obstructive Sleep Apnea thus occurs when, due to​ that continuous collapse of​ the airway, breathing actually stops.

Although Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs two to​ three times as​ often in​ older male adults, it​ can affect young or​ old, male or​ female. Even children can have sleep apnea, a​ problem more common than once thought.

Certain factors can put you more at​ risk of​ getting sleep apnea:

Obesity & excess weight (leading to​ an​ enlarged neck and excess soft tissue in​ the trachea)

Enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils (airway can become blocked when tonsils or​ adenoids are too large)

Sex and age (older men are more likely to​ suffer from sleep apnea than women are)

Drinking alcohol (sedates the throat muscles and causes them to​ collapse)

Cigarette smoking (which inflames the upper airway)

While death is​ obviously possible due to​ Obstructive Sleep Apnea (and subsequent lack of​ breathing), there are many very serious effects that, while not fatal, are most certainly severe.

Even when it​ is​ not fatal, Sleep apnea deprives the body of​ essential oxygen; and hence, overall blood oxygen levels are reduced and concurrently, carbon dioxide levels rise. This can lead to​ toxic buildup that can cause heart disease, stroke, and brain damage.

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