Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a common but often misunderstood sleep disorder. For instance, because one of its most prominent, telltale signs is excessive snoring, many patients who have it mistake their condition as just that – excessive snoring. Therefore, they don’t always seek treatment as soon as they should, and over time, the effects of sleep apnea can extend far beyond just chronic snoring. Today, we explore many of those effects so you can know if your snoring might be just one of several other indications of sleep apnea.
The reason why obstructive sleep apnea causes you to snore is because the disorder involves oral and throat tissues clogging your airway. As the tissues do so, they force your breath to squeeze through a tighter area, making the walls and tissues in your throat vibrate loudly. This alone can make it harder for you to receive enough oxygen while you sleep, yet it gets worse when the obstruction completely blocks your airway and stops you from breathing at all. You may not notice it, but this can last for several moments before your brain and body panic from the lack of oxygen. While still remaining unconscious, your body will wake up just enough to clear your airway and allow you to breathe, but the repeated interruptions to your breathing will dramatically reduce your overall oxygen intake throughout the night.
Besides seriously limiting your oxygen, sleep apnea episodes that constantly waken your body also stop you from entering deep R.E.M. sleep. Even if you remain lightly asleep throughout the night, your brain and body cells can’t rest and rejuvenate without R.E.M. sleep. Over time, you’ll begin suffering symptoms of sleep deprivation, including increasing daytime fatigue, difficulty with simple tasks, heightened irritability, and much more.
Find Out How Sleep Apnea Is Affecting Your Life
Snoring is the most common symptom and sign of sleep apnea, but it isn’t the only thing that your sleep disorder may be causing. To learn more, call Houston Sleep Solutions in Spring, TX, at (281) 320-2000, or in Pearland, TX, at (832) 564-3508.