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Understanding Sleep Apnea and How to Help

Snoring isn’t something to be overly concerned about, is it? Not necessarily. Loud, frequent snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea, which is a common and potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep. It is vital that we work to distinguish between snoring and sleep apnea in Warrenton—understanding the difference will make all the difference.

Understanding Snoring

Severe snoring can cause an array of problems, including sleep disturbances for the snorer and other household members as well as walking episodes.  Snoring does not always result in sleep apnea, but chronic snoring may indicate an underlying sleep disorder.  Left untreated, sleep apnea can increase risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes and car accidents due to sleepiness while driving.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a type of breathing disorder, which is a serious, and potentially life-threatening condition characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep.  There are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)– the upper airway is open, but no oxygen is getting into the system.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – the lungs and the diaphragm are functioning normally, but no oxygen is entering the system because there is an obstruction in the upper airway.
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea – this is a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea.

The signs and symptoms of OSA include snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, gasping or choking during the night, non-refreshed sleep, fragmented sleep, clouded memory, irritability, personality changes and morning headaches.

 

Does your partner or a family member display chronic snoring and pauses in breathing while they sleep? If so, it is important to contact Dr. Bonnie Foster in Warrenton, VA about sleep apnea and your treatment options.