Snoring can be a mere annoyance, or it can be a warning sign of a common sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that can have serious health consequences.
Snoring occurs when the flow of air from the mouth or nose to your lungs makes the tissues of the airway vibrate. This is caused by a blockage or narrowing in the nose, mouth, or throat.
When you inhale during sleep, air enters the mouth or nose and passes across the back of the roof of the mouth through the throat on its way to the lungs. The back of the mouth-where the tongue and upper throat meet is called the soft palate. If this area collapses, the airway becomes narrow or blocked. The narrowed or blocked passage disturbs the airflow, which causes the soft palate to vibrate, causing snoring. The tonsils may also vibrate. The more narrow the airway is, the more the tissue vibrates and the louder the snoring is.
When someone has sleep apnea the main cause is that the tongue collapses back against the walls of the throat and the limited passage air causes the snoring. When the tongue collapses against the throat the lack of oxygen in your lungs will wake you up gasping for air before falling asleep again. Pauses in breathing can be just a few seconds to minutes, and occur as little as five to as many as 30 times per hour.
Depending upon the number of times per hour these episodes are experienced during the course of a night, the severity is classified as mild, moderate or severe. Depending upon the number of times per hour these episodes are experienced during the course of a night, the severity is classified as mild, moderate or severe.
Here are just a few serious ailments that OSA can cause:
- High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
- Heart Attack
When you snore your body is telling you that you have limited breathing and you need to do something about it. If you sore often, please let your primary physician know about it. Only a physician will be able diagnose whether your snore is a mild vibration of tissue or a blockage of the airway causing sleep apnea. A quick home sleep test can be prescribed by your physician and will measure your risk for sleep apnea. Your physician will then be able to help you decide which treatment option is best for you.
Early recognition and diagnosis of sleep conditions will significantly improve the quality of care given to a patient. Treating patients sleep conditions will lower their associated risks for more serious medical maladies significantly. If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, been diagnosed or would like to find out how you can avoid the high risk of developing other conditions, contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a consultation.