Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder that causes individuals to stop breathing while asleep. Sleep interruptions may occur infrequently or hundreds of times per night. This causes the brain to receive insufficient amounts of oxygen. Sleep apnea manifests in one of two ways. The airway becomes blocked during sleep when patients have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Central sleep apnea (CSA) results in brain signals failing to control breathing while a person sleeps. The main complication of sleep apnea is a significant lack of oxygen. This often causes other health issues that then create a cycle that further worsens the sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea patients often first complain of snoring -- or more accurately, their partners complain of it. Most often, patients visit a doctor for professional advice after their sleep-deprived partner demands it. Obstructed airways cause the patient to snore loudly, resulting in poor sleep quality for both bedmates. Snoring often accompanies sleep apnea but not always, so it's best to get a sleep study done to confirm the diagnosis.
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