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Snoring and Sleep Apnea

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Do you recall TV commercials or movies in which snoring husbands wake up their wives? You know? The stereotypical scenario where their souse won’t allow them to get to sleep? Just realize that it occurs the other way around, too.  According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, approximately 45% of people snore occasionally, and a full 25% snore routinely. The 4-5 causes behind this habit deserve investigation, especially in children. The one that I want to focus on is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, where kids pause for more than ten seconds between their breaths, 40 to several hundred times nightly.  This causes a lower amount of oxygen in the blood, so the heart works harder. People also experience sleepiness during the day because they have a poor quality of sleep. That doesn’t help school work.

Snoring may also indicate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a more serious condition.  OSA is characterized by 40 to hundreds of episodes of breathing pauses greater than 10 seconds each time, due to the upper airway narrowing or collapse. This means that the heart has to work harder because there are lower oxygen levels in the blood. It also causes disruption of the natural sleep cycle, which makes people feel poorly rested even though they spent adequate time in bed.

Untreated obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of developing heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes. There are several solutions for sleep apnea, but pressure from a nasal mask, worn while sleeping, treats it. It keeps the airway open. An Otolaryngologist can design the appropriate mask to improve your health.