Does your partner keep you up at night with their constant snoring? It may be more than just a nightly annoyance. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder that causes people to have difficulty breathing or stop breathing for short periods of time (10 seconds or longer) while sleeping. This occurs when muscles in the throat intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep.
Your brain senses the lack of oxygen and briefly rouses you from your sleep so that your airway reopens; it may be so brief, in fact, that you may not realize the interruption. This pattern can repeat 5 to 30 times or more each hour, all night long, leading to daytime fatigue as well as an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and other heart problems — not to mention a tired and cranky sleep partner!