more than just a snore BY BONNIE KRETCHIK
pproximately half of all adults snore. Snoring occurs when your breathing is partially obstructed while you sleep. It can be as minor as a faint whisper or so noisy it keeps the rest of the family up at night. And while it may seem harmless, snoring can be a sign of a much more serious health problem: sleep apnea. APNEA
What’s The Difference? When you snore, your airways are partially obstructed. In most cases, this occurs when the tissues in your throat are relaxed and the air that passes through causes respiratory structures to vibrate. With sleep apnea, your breathing actually stops for periods of time, and you wake (or not) with a choke or gasp for oxygen. The non-breathing gaps may last as little as a few seconds to as long as a few minutes and may occur up to 30 times in an hour. As a snorer, you will more than likely sleep through the night undisturbed (unless an irritated spouse gives you a shove or shake). However, if you have sleep apnea, you are facing more serious consequences. “Sleep apnea can be related to other serious health conditions,” says Dr. Jose Delgado-Elvir of Florida Sleep Solutions in Ocala. He explains that heart-related problems, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes can all be associated with sleep apnea. Furthermore, and just as important, disrupted sleep is also a major side effect, Dr. Delgado-Elvir explains. When your body has to choke or gasp for air, even if you don’t wake up, you now have shifted from deep to light sleep. And disrupted sleep patterns influence everything from your mood, concentration, productivity and lifestyle choices during the daytime hours.
marionhealthyliving.com | MAY 2013
Sources: nhbli.nih.gov, sleepapnea.org, mayoclinic.com
SLEEP ILLUSTRATION © MARAGA.CPAP MAN © HOWARD SANDLLER / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
HE ALT H Y
Inspiring A Healthier, Balanced Lifestyle