Do you wake up exhausted? Does your partner complain about your snoring? You may be one of up to 6% of people who suffer from sleep apnea 1,2 – in obese people that number is 77% 3 – and you may not know you have it.
Sleep apnea is a condition where the pharyngeal muscles in the back and sides of your throat relax so much during the sleep that the breathing stops for some seconds. When this happens, the brain notices a lack of oxygen in blood, wakes you up just enough to tense the muscles and take a breath. Then you fall into a deeper sleep again and the cycle continues – usually without you even noticing.
Early detection of sleep apnea means that it can be treated before it damages your health, relationship or work performance.
The end result of sleep apnea is that you may suffer from a lack of sleep and oxygen and wake up exhausted. Your partner may also complain about your snoring. Some sleep apnea sufferers find themselves falling asleep at work or while driving.
The occasional stop of breathing is normal.
Everyone does it occasionally, however when it happens more than five times per hour, you have sleep apnea. In severe cases it can happen more than 30 times per hour.