People do not wake up one morning suddenly afflicted with obstructive sleep apnea. Rather, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is believed to be a progressive disorder that lies on the extreme end of a spectrum of sleep disordered breathing.
At the other end of the spectrum is benign snoring–snoring that has no impact on sleep health other than possibly disrupting one's bed partner's sleep. When the causes of snoring begin to progress from relatively harmless noise-making to the harmful sleep disorder of sleep apnea, it often first develops into upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS).
Am I at Risk for Snoring ?
PLENTY REASONS WHY!!
Snoring occurs when the flow of air through the mouth and nose is physically obstructed. Air flow can be obstructed by a combination of factors, including
Obstructed nasal airways: Some people snore only during allergy seasons or when they have a sinus infection. Deformities of the nose such as a deviated septum (a structural change in the wall that separates one nostril from the other) or nasal polyps can also cause obstruction.
Poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue: Throat and tongue muscles can be too relaxed, which allows them to collapse and fall back into the airway. This can result from deep sleep, alcohol consumption, and use of some sleeping pills. Normal aging causes further relaxation of these muscles.
Bulky throat tissue: Being overweight can cause bulky throat tissue. Also, children with large tonsils and adenoids often snore.
Long soft palate and/or uvula: A long soft palate or a long uvula (the dangling tissue in back of the mouth) can narrow the opening from the nose to the throat. When these structures vibrate and bump against one another the airway becomes obstructed, causing snoring.
What Are the Effects of Snoring ?
Habitual snorers can be at risk for serious health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea creates several problems, including
Long interruptions of breathing (more than 10 seconds) during sleep caused by partial or total obstruction or blockage of the airway.
Frequent waking from sleep, even though you may not realize it.
Light sleeping. People with obstructive sleep apnea might sleep lightly as their body tries to keep their throat muscles tense enough to maintain airflow.
Strain on the heart. Prolonged suffering from obstructive sleep apnea often results in higher blood pressure and may cause enlargement of the heart, with higher risks of heart attack and stroke.
Poor night's sleep. This leads to drowsiness during the day and can interfere with your quality of life.
Low oxygen levels in the blood. This can lead to constricted blood vessels in the lungs and eventually pulmonary hypertension.
Daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
If you have any concerns that you may have any type of snoring