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Sleep Apnea

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Everyone snores a little, right? Especially after a night of Happy Hour cocktails. But have you ever heard someone snore loudly followed by a deafening silence? Or has anyone told you that it sounds like you choke in your sleep? Because these are actually signs of sleep apnea, snoring's sinister stepsister. Someone with sleep apnea stops breathing in their sleep — usually for a few seconds and 5-30 times (or more) per hour. Obviously, any disruption of oxygen to the brain can be dangerous. And over time, sleep apnea can cause more serious health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease. So if you have signs of sleep apnea, don't shrug it off. See a sleep apnea doctor for a sleep apnea test as soon as possible. While sleep apnea cures don't yet exist, many treatments have proven highly successful.

Sleep Apnea FAQs

Q: What's the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?
A: Snoring occurs when the airway is blocked and the soft palate and uvula produce a vibrating sound. Sleep apnea is Greek for "without breath," which means that a person stops breathing in their sleep. While snoring is mostly benign, sleep apnea is a serious condition that can result in high blood pressure, memory problems and, in some cases, impotency.

Q: What are some common signs of sleep apnea?
A: The reason why people confuse some of the most common signs of sleep apnea with snoring is because the two often occur together: a loud snore followed by silence or snoring in a way that sounds muffled or like the person's choking. Other signs of sleep apnea are most obvious during waking hours — feeling groggy throughout the day, having difficulty concentrating, forgetting things, and nodding off easily.

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