Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
These terms describe parts of the continuum of sleep-disordered breathing. This spectrum ranges from slight vibration of tissues at its mildest to death from asphyxiation at its severe extreme. Between lies pathologic snoring and periods of complete closure of the airway called “apnea”.
The long-term effects of such disturbed breathing dramatically increases the risk of stroke, hypertension (high blood pressure), arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), myocardial infarction (heart attack), cardiac arrhythmias (irregular pulse),Type II diabetes and others.
Sleep disordered breathing also disrupts the normal patterns of brain activity and relaxation, precluding restorative sleep. Overwhelming daytime sleepiness contributes to the risk of accident and injury from decreased attention span, judgment and reflex. The risk of automobile accident in the untreated sleep apneic is about 7 times that of a normal sleeper. Work productivity and safety suffer.