Do you wake up in the morning feeling like you haven't slept? Are you lacking the energy to tackle the day? Have loved ones spoken to you of loud snoring or gasping for air when asleep? This could all be signals that you are experiencing undiagnosed Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
When your body enters a deep sleep, the muscles of the upper airway relax, causing the tongue and soft palate to collapse. This tongue obstruction is called glossoptosis. It narrows the airway and reduces the amount of oxygen reaching your lungs.
Structural issues with the jaw can amplify this, and breathing can stop entirely from seconds to minutes.
As your brain senses the depletion of oxygen, the body kicks back into gear allowing you to breathe. The breath will often sound like gasping or choking, rather than the normal flow of breathing. This arousal is often so slight you may not even know you are experiencing it, even though it may happen upward of 30 times an hour.
Typically, it will be the partner of someone with sleep apnea who identifies these symptoms first. However, you may notice that you are not in a normal sleep cycle and discover you are lethargic when you wake up as it takes a toll on the ability of the body to rejuvenate in preparation for the day ahead.
Left untreated, it can lead to many serious medical conditions. These include:
Over time, our bodies will begin to tell us that something is seriously wrong and that action needs to be taken to treat the core issue, not just the symptoms.