While snoring doesn’t guarantee that you have sleep apnea, there’s a pretty good chance you do, or that you’ll develop the condition later. Far from just an amusing or annoying sound, sleep apnea-related snoring is a potentially life-threatening condition. Even before it reaches that stage, it could have a major impact on your daily life and enjoyment.
Scheduling a sleep apnea assessment with Lakeshore Ear, Nose & Throat Center helps ensure that sleep apnea won’t take over your life.
Types of sleep apnea
Rather than a single medical problem, sleep apnea has three main types. Some cases are related to signals your brain sends to your muscles to control breathing, called central sleep apnea, but the most common type is called obstructive sleep apnea, and it’s caused by loose tissue in your throat. The third major type is a combination of those two.
Obstructive sleep apnea
The word “apnea” means an interruption in breathing. Any sleep apnea case refers to breathing problems while you’re sleeping. Normally, breathing is an autonomic function. It happens whether you’re thinking about it or not.
When something physically blocks your breathing, you’ve got obstructive apnea, and if you’re asleep at the time, well, you see where the name comes from. Your throat is a busy place, with tissue that aids breathing, speech, and eating, and much of this tissue must be flexible to perform a range of functions.
When soft tissue collapses during sleep, you may experience snoring, the vibration of this tissue that happens with partial collapse, or apnea, when breathing is completely blocked.
When your airway is completely blocked, your brain sends out a signal to wake you up enough to move, restoring your breathing. You might not be aware of this, since you’re not always fully awakened, but it can happen many times in a single night. This prevents you from reaching the restful phases of deep sleep that are crucial to your physical and mental health.
Potential complications of obstructive sleep apnea
There are few aspects of your life that escape the effects of sleep apnea. It’s not simply a matter of missing a little sleep. It can be a chronic condition with wide-ranging effects on your body. When you leave sleep apnea untreated, you carry an increased risk of developing other health problems.
Despite spending what seems to be enough time sleeping, you might not feel rested and alert.
Changes in oxygen levels due to breathing interruptions cause strain on your cardiovascular system in response.
Sleep apnea can increase your body’s resistance to insulin, a cause of Type 2 diabetes.
Sleep apnea can contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Sleep disorders in others
Partners or family members may be losing sleep due to loud snoring that often accompanies sleep apnea.
There are many avenues of treatment, from lifestyle changes, special breathing apparatus, and even surgical procedures. Call or click to arrange a consultation with a sleep apnea specialist at Lakeshore Ear, Nose & Throat Center. You’ll rest easy with five locations in the Southeast Michigan area.