Obstructive sleep apnea causes your airway to narrow or close off, reducing or stopping breathing for short periods during sleep.
If your breathing stops, you may make grunting, gasping, or snorting sounds and restless body movements. As breathing resumes, loud Reference snoring starts. This may happen many times during a night.
The more often it happens, the more severe your sleep apnea is. Sleep apnea is called either Reference mild, moderate, or severe.
When you stop breathing, the oxygen levels in your blood go down and carbon dioxide levels go up. This makes your heart and blood vessels work harder and can affect your heart rate and nervous system. That in turn may:
- Lead to Reference other problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Make these other problems worse and harder to treat.
- Raise your risk of having a stroke.Reference 3
Because sleep apnea disturbs your sleep, it can make you very tired during the day. So if you have sleep apnea, you may:
- Be more likely to have a car accident.
- Do poorly at school or work and have trouble concentrating.
- Have memory problems.
- Have personality changes, anxiety, and depression.
- Lose the desire for sex.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference January 20, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine