Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour.
Sleep apnea is usually a chronic condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep.
As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors usually can’t detect the condition during routine office visits. Most people who have sleep apnea don’t know they have it because it only occurs during sleep. A family member or bed partner might be the first to notice signs of sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. In this condition, the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. This causes shallow breathing or breathing pauses. When you try to breathe any air that squeezes past the blockage can cause loud snoring.Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in people who are overweight, but it can affect anyone including children.
Central sleep apnea is a less common type of sleep apnea. This disorder occurs if the area of your brain that controls your breathing doesn’t send the correct signals to your breathing muscles. As a result, you’ll make no effort to breathe for brief periods. Central sleep apnea can affect anyone. However, it’s more common in people who have certain medical conditions or use certain medicines. Snoring typically doesn’t happen with central sleep apnea.
Untreated sleep apnea can result in: