How does Sleep apnea occur?
Snoring occurs when the airway or passage through which we breathe becomes partially blocked or occluded. An example would be a tongue that falls back as we drift off into a deeper sleep. As the diameter or size of the airway passage is shrinking, the net result is a muffled sound secondary to vibrations in the throat, or snoring.
During snoring, air flow is partially blocked
During sleep apnea, air flow is completely blocked
In many situations, this compromise is minor and the body continues to get adequate amounts of oxygen to cause little or no harm. However, this is a red flag as it could also be one of the early signs or a part of sleep apnea. Most all sleep apnea sufferers snore in between bouts of apnea, or oxygen interruption. A sleep study should be done to determine the seriousness of one’s condition.
Nights With Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea patients have a rough night and don’t even know it is happening. In a given night, these apneic events (when a patient stops breathing) can occur anywhere from 30 – 50 times, and in some people as many as 60 – 100 times per hour! Obviously, these individuals awake exhausted and spent each morning, as they’ve been fighting for oxygen all night. Sleep should be a replenishing award for each of us. Chances are that your spouse, other family members, or your coworkers, are keen to the problem. They either also suffer from your noisy snoring or see the signs of a body which is not sleeping at night as it woefully attempts to navigate a given day. Recently, a condition known as “secondary snoring” has been researched and has been shown to cost the bed partner of a snorer an average of 1.5 hours of sleep each night. Snoring, in fact, has also been shown to be a leading cause of divorce.
Nocturnal signs and symptoms associated with OSA include drooling, dry mouth, sleep restlessness, witnessed apneas, choking or gasping and sweating.