Though many of us will deny it, nearly half of the population snores on occasion. Our culture often makes snoring a butt of a joke, but it can be indicative of a more serious issue. In fact, habitual snoring is symptomatic of sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder. Sleep apnea causes a disruption in breathing, either by long pauses in between breaths or periods of shallow breathing. The resulting lack of oxygen can have several long-term effects on the body, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression.
Because the disorder affects individuals in their sleep, it is not uncommon for those suffering from sleep apnea to be unaware of their condition. So how do you know if your snoring is more than punchline? Some signs of sleep apnea include:
- Loud and frequent snoring punctuated by long pauses. Someone suffering from sleep apnea will snore on a regular basis. If a disruption in breathing longer than ten seconds occurs, this suggests sleep apnea is a factor.
- Choking or gasping sounds. As the body struggles to breathe following a disruption, sounds of choking or gasping may occur.
- Feeling sleepy or fatigued after a long night’s rest. Sleep apnea prevents your body from reaching REM sleep. This disrupts your sleep cycle and leads to daytime drowsiness.
If you are concerned you may have a sleep apnea, you might consider recording your sleep activity so you are able to listen for these symptoms. Sleep apnea can affect people of all walks of life, but some factors that may put you at a higher risk. Individuals who are overweight, middle-aged or older, male or have a family history of sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from the disorder.
Fortunately, sleep apnea treatments can be provided for your doctor. Ear, nose and throat doctors, or ENTs, offer a range of solutions for sleep apnea. Including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), oral appliances or surgical procedures. At The Center for ENT, we pride ourselves in being the best ENT Houston, TX has to offer. If you are someone you know is exhibiting signs of sleep apnea, call us today at 713-795-5343.