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What is Sleep Apnea?

Snoring and sleep apnea are not the same condition.

Snoring is the loud annoying sound caused during inhalation where air turbulence develops due to vibration along the loose tissue in the back of your throat. The older you get, the more relaxed your muscle tone is; the more your muscles relax, the more the tissue in the back of your throat impedes the flow of air. This causes you to snore louder and more frequently as you age. If the muscle tone is too relaxed and/or there is too much soft tissue in your throat, you will not be able to inhale during certain parts of the night. By definition, this is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea episodes are usually observed at nighttime as loud snoring, periodic cessation of breathing, and sudden arousals to clear the throat to resume breathing. This cycle continues irregularly throughout the night.

Your oxygen level drops in your blood causing you to have brain and heart damage from lack of adequate oxygen. The sleep rhythm causes poor sleep architecture that will have consequences in the day, such as:

  • Waking up not feeling rested
  • Feeling tired throughout the day
  • Feeling excessively tired after a meal
  • Feeling easily sleepy on a chair or sofa in the day
  • Wanting to take daytime naps
  • Poor memory
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating