We often see people snoring while sleeping. But most of us consider this as just a harmless sleeping habit. But beware, this could be a sign of serious health problems as it is one of the main reasons for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It is a kind of sleep disorder because of which breathing stops involuntarily. This happens due to over-relaxation of throat muscles. A person can face several such pauses in breath throughout the night and this may lead to disrupted and poor-quality sleep.
According to experts, the OSA is a commonly under-diagnosed disorder that is usually found among overweight people. Doctors say that this is caused by the repetitive collapse of the upper respiratory passage while someone is asleep and this causes a partial or complete breathing obstruction.
Explaining the obstruction, a doctor said that it can occur at the level of the nose, nasopharynx, oropharynx, hypopharynx, mandible or neck. If someone is infected with this, he or she can face problems like snoring, disturbed sleep with episodes of choking or gasping. Apart from time, the person can also face daytime irritability, loss of concentration at work or school and morning fatigue due to excessive daytime sleepiness.
What does apnea mean
The word apnea is originated from the Greek word ‘apnos’ which means the absence of breathing. This is related to collapsing of airways while the patient is asleep. This in turn causes a snoring sound which is generated due to turbulent airflow through the narrowed airway.
Snoring is a very common phenomenon but it is usually associated with nasal obstruction and thus delaying diagnosis of the disorder and inadvertently leading to a significant impact on the quality of life of the patient.
This may cause serious problems as a result of low oxygen levels in the blood. Such prolonged obstruction can even lead to pulmonary or systemic hypertension, congestive cardiac failure, cardiac arrhythmias and other heart conditions like myocardial infarction etc.
The OSA may also lead to memory loss, morning headaches, depression, mood swings and some other conditions as well.