A pause in breathing, sleep apnea is present when there is a severe obstruction of the airway during sleep. It's characterized by the presence of heavy snoring, disturbed sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness and tiredness. The victim of this disorder is usually unaware that their breathing actually stops many times during the night. The pauses in breathing, or apneic episodes, are usually quite alarming to the bed partner. During the periods of apnea, blood oxygen levels fall, adversely affecting the heart and circulation. Sleep apnea can be a serious medical problem that demands accurate diagnosis and aggressive treatment. Heart attack and heart failure, high blood pressure or stroke may result. The severity of this condition is quite variable but in some instances may be life threatening. The treatment of choice has been nasal continuous airway pressure (CPAP) but, with the addition of the somnoplasty option, more patients will benefit from a surgical approach.
It's never too late to have a good night's sleep