Fresno Sleep Apnea Symptoms

The Dangers of Disrupted Sleep

Everyone snores once in a while – even babies snore! But when snoring is loud and chronic it can become a problem for both the person snoring and for his or her bed partner. And if your snoring involves cessation of breathing or waking up gasping for breath, it could be more than snoring, it could be sleep apnea!

More Than Snoring – Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea? Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a debilitating sleep and breathing disorder. People with OSA stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. This is often due to a lack of muscle tone, a large tongue or even extra tissue blocking the airway. When this happens, air is prevented from entering the lungs for ten seconds or more, five or more times an hour.

When your breathing is interrupted by an obstruction in the airway, your body reacts to save your life – it wakes you up just enough to let you start breathing again. This life-saving reaction could be waking you up hundreds of times each night! While sleep apnea causes your body to wake you, most sufferers do not rouse from their sleep enough to become aware of any loud snoring, choking or gasping for air so typically associated with obstructive sleep apnea. Yet all those rousings keep you out of the restful phases of sleep, leading to constant exhaustion and placing long-term stress on your heart.

The importance of treatment should be obvious, but here are a few more incentives: People who do not get effective treatment for sleep apnea can be at risk for life threatening side effects such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke because of the strain sleep apnea puts on your heart. And because it causes uncontrollable daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea can dramatically increase the likelihood of accidents while driving or working.

If a threat to your life isn’t enough to convince you to seek treatment, try decreased performance in sports and at work; forgetfulness; irritability; trouble completing tasks and concentrating; and even depression. Sleep apnea decreases the quality of your life both at home and at work.

The most common symptoms and conditions include:

  • Your significant other can’t sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Obesity
  • Large neck