Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder and can cause shallow breaths and small pauses in breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea is categorized in many types, but the most severe is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when the throat muscles relax and block the airway during sleep. A noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea in many patients is snoring.
These factors increase the risk of developing this disorder:
The obstructive sleep apnea occurs due to the back muscles of the throat relaxes excessively to allow normal breathing. The back muscles support the soft palate, uvula, the tonsils, and the tongue. This relaxation makes the airway narrows or closes as the individual breaths in. This process takes around 10 to 20 seconds to complete which ultimately lowers the level of oxygen in the blood and cause more carbon dioxide. This abnormality in the oxygen and carbon dioxide level signals the brain and briefly rouses the person from sleep so that he can reopen the airway. This awakening from sleep is usually very brief and the person would not remember it in the morning.
This awakens the person with a transient shortness of breath and that corrects itself very quickly, within one or two deep breaths which result in snorting, choking or gasping sound while sleeping. These run in cycles and repeats itself up to 30 times or more in an hour, all night long. All these disruptions impair the ability to reach the desired deep, restful phases of sleep, for the person himself and for his partner too and probably feel sleepy during the day. The misconceptions people might have about this type of sleeping pattern is that they think, they have slept well at night but actually, they are not aware of their interruption during sleep.
Along with snoring and disturbing the partner, there are other complications such as fatigue during the day, sleepiness, cardiovascular problems, low oxygen levels in the blood can create more complications like glaucoma, choking and deep breaths during sleep.
Consult us when you observe this pattern in yourself or in your partners as intermittent pauses in the breathing during sleep may be dangerous and loud snoring can really disturb the sleep of others.
The motive of discussing is that we certainly have a possible treatment. In one of the treatments, a device is involved to keep the airway open while sleeping. Another option is a mouthpiece is given to the patient to thrust the jaw forward during sleep. Surgery is the last option in case of severity.