Loud snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness can be signs of sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the upper airway behind the tongue repeatedly collapses during sleep. Some amount of airway collapse during sleep is normal, explains Conrad Iber, MD, program medical director for Fairview Sleep Centers. OSA is said to be mild if the airway collapses 5 to 15 times an hour and severe if it occurs more than 30 times during an hour.
One in five adults has some form of OSA. Signs of the condition might include:
- Loud snoring
- Periods of “apnea” (not breathing)
- Daytime sleepiness
- Family history
- Neck circumference of more than 17 inches
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Apnea is often the cause of loud snoring and can affect everyone in the home — not just the person snoring. While snoring is often the topic of many jokes, OSA should be taken seriously.
Michael Howell, MD, sleep medicine specialist with the Fairview Sleep Center in Edina, says “Doctors take obstructive sleep apnea seriously as it can have some long-term, increased risk for major health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease."
Another danger of untreated OSA is that it can interrupt sleep so much that it causes excessive daytime sleepiness. This becomes a public safety concern when someone with OSA gets behind the wheel of a car or controls other transportation devices.
If excessive daytime sleepiness or nighttime snoring affect your ability to work, think clearly and enjoy life, you might have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is easily identified with a sleep study where sleep is monitored overnight and treated with a variety of treatment options available.