What’s the significance of occasional snoring, daytime drowsiness, or intermittent insomnia? If these sleep issues are infrequent, they may not be cause for major concern. However, if disruptions are frequent, worsening, or noticeable to those around you, it could indicate sleep apnea, a potentially serious condition.
Sleep apnea manifests in three forms:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): This is the most prevalent type, often resulting from relaxed throat muscles obstructing the airway during sleep. Physical conditions like a deviated septum, excess throat tissue, or enlarged tonsils can also contribute. Loud snoring typically occurs as the sleeper struggles to breathe through the blocked passage.
- Central sleep apnea: Caused by the brain failing to send proper signals to breathe during sleep, individuals with central sleep apnea may either momentarily stop breathing or take shallow breaths, preventing adequate air intake into the lungs.
- Complex sleep apnea: This form involves a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Any of these types can lead to a disrupted night’s sleep, with individuals experiencing temporary cessation of breathing. To resume proper breathing, the body transitions from deep sleep, essential for physical and mental restoration, to shallow sleep or even brief wakefulness. These disruptions can occur dozens of times per hour, causing sleep deprivation despite the illusion of a full night’s rest.
Obstructive sleep apnea is often characterized by audible signs such as loud snoring, choking sounds, and persistent drowsiness. However, the hidden consequences are more perilous, with links to high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, memory issues, depression, mood changes, accidents due to impaired focus and slow reflexes, and increased risks during medical procedures.
Snoring isn’t the sole indicator of sleep apnea. If you frequently wake up with a sore throat, dry mouth, or headache, experience difficulty falling asleep or staying awake, struggle with concentration, or consistently feel irritable, it’s essential to consider the possibility of sleep apnea. Consult with Dr. Sindledecker and Dr. Saltz at our Boca Raton office for recommendations on effective solutions, allowing you to achieve restful and healthy sleep once again. Addressing sleep apnea is a significant step towards overall well-being.