Snoring is bothersome to others, but it can also be a sign of a more serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is present in three percent of the general population. OSA is characterized by multiple pauses in breathing greater than 10 seconds at a time due to upper airway narrowing or collapse. This lowers the amount of oxygen in the blood, and causes the heart to work harder. Because the snorer does not get a good rest, they may be sleepy during the day, which decreases their performance. Untreated OSA can contribute to high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, workplace or motor vehicle accidents, and more.
What Are the Symptoms of OSA?
Symptoms associated with OSA can include:
- Loud snoring
- Pauses in breathing during sleep
- Waking up gasping or choking
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Morning headache
- Irritability, mood changes, depression, difficulty concentrating
- High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, or other cardiac issues