When Snoring Becomes Dangerous: The Onset of Sleep Apnea
Snoring is annoying at best and intolerable at worst. The sounds made while snoring often fluctuate from a softer volume to a pitch so loud that they may even affect those who sleep on opposite ends of the house!
Snoring creates sounds of varying decibels. As you are probably aware, sound is created by vibrations. In regards to the phenomenon of snoring, the origin lies with the vibration of the respiratory system which reverberates according to a consistent, but not entirely restricted blockage of air flow into the body. Congestion of the sinuses may be a major cause of snoring. Pharmacies sell widely-used adhesive strips which are applied to the nostrils in an effort to help the afflicted by “propping” open and maintaining the nasal airway during sleep. Sometimes this is an effective enough treatment for snoring. Unfortunately, snoring often leads to a more debilitating condition: Obstructed Sleep Apnea, or OAS.
Snoring, however irritating it may be, is still indicative of regular breathing patterns. Obstructed Sleep Apnea, however, is a much more formidable enemy to the whole body. Obstructed Sleep Apnea is a disease. OAS arises when a complete blockage of oxygen to the body occurs due to the “collapse” of the soft tissues of the tongue, throat, and neck. Literally, a person suffering from Sleep Apnea will cease breathing during sleep due to these physical obstructions of the body. Obstructed Sleep Apnea is comparable to being consistently suffocated consistently during sleep. These spells of non-breathing sometimes last up to a couple of minutes and may occur repeatedly many times each night. The seriousness of OAS is not to be taken lightly: the bottom line is that Sleep Apnea prohibits oxygen from reaching the brain. Obstructed Sleep Apnea is potentially fatal; in a sense, the afflicted person dies a little bit more each time an episode is experienced. Over time, Obstructed Sleep Apnea may cause a range of diseases and ailments relating to almost every part of the whole body.
When carbon dioxide reaches critical levels in the body, the brain alerts the body to awaken through a type of physical disruption. Choking, gasping, or coughing during sleep is the hallmark of Obstructed Sleep Apnea. Many times the sufferer never regains consciousness during these episodes. The next day, sufferers of OAS experience the restlessness, chronic fatigue, depression, lack of motivation, moodiness and irritability without any idea as to the source of their suffering. However, if the sufferer does awaken, the episodes resulting from OAS can be so disturbing that the sufferer may be too afraid to risk falling back to sleep. This fear may border on sheer terror; it is this situation that often becomes the ultimate catalyst which persuades the Obstructive Sleep Apnea sufferer to aggressively seek treatment for their serious disease.
Tolerating Snoring and Sleep Apnea is Unnecessary and Treatable
Night after night, countless Americans suffer from the burdens of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The sound of snoring undoubtably brings restlessness to any person within earshot. Unfortunately, snoring usually negatively affects those who are dearest and nearest to the snorer. In reality, snoring and Obstructed Sleep Apnea create an environment where no one is immune to the suffering accompanying sleep deprivation.
People aware of their habitual snoring and their Obstructive Sleep Apnea are most likely enlightened to the presence of their disease by their partner. However, more often than not, no action is taken to address and correct the snoring. A belief exists, or more accurately, a myth of sorts: snoring is often attributed to an individual’s genetics. When this belief is accepted, snoring becomes a personal, physical trait that simply must be tolerated. Considered a part of one’s biological makeup, snoring is mistakenly believed to be as much a part of the individual as the color of their eyes. This widely held misconception has forced many un-informed people to accept the conviction that snoring cannot be curtailed. As a result, adaptations form in order to gain any sort of quality sleep.