Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which oxygen perfusion to the body’s vital organs is cut off or reduced due to an obstruction in the airway during sleep. This blockage or narrowing is caused by the same factors which lead to snoring. Hence, obstructive sleep apnea and snoring can’t be discussed divorce of each other. Actually, snoring and excessive sleepiness during waking hours are telltale signs of OSA. Although obesity, senility and the male gender are predisposing factors, anyone can develop OSA.
The lack of normal muscle tone which holds the tissues in the upper airway during sleep results to the said occlusion. When the brain senses periods of apnea (pauses in breathing) it will wake you up to re-establish the patency of the airway. Usually this is noticed by someone sharing the room or bed as intermittent loud snorts. The snorer wakes up in the morning unaware of these occurrences – what he doesn’t know can in fact kill him.
Sometimes, people delay seeking for snoring cures because symptoms are vague and come on slowly. The excessive sleepiness among OSA sufferers can also present as difficulty in concentration. Those who are still in school may fail or have unsatisfactory grades. Adult professionals may suffer from intermittent disruptions in cash flow as a consequence of chronic absenteeism or tardiness or failing to complete projects. The disorder can also put unnecessary strain to any relationship especially because the snorer usually have decreased sexual drive and at the same time easily wound up by petty problems.
Aside from its effects on a person’s lifestyle, OSA can be fatal as lack of oxygen can injure the brain and other vital organs. Hence, treatment should be sought promptly. Mild cases can usually be addressed with snoring solutions like assuming a non-recumbent position during sleep. Snoring pillows which are thicker around the edges, helps align the head and neck to prevent the airway from closing off.
Snoring pillows however are often not enough for moderate cases, instead, mandibular advancement implements or simply anti-snoring oral appliances are prescribed. Also, obese or overweight individuals are told to lose weight as a snoring solution. For severe cases, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are used to continuously provide oxygenated during sleep.