It’s estimated that 50% of people snore at some point during their life.
Sleep apnea is a more serious, but also common sleep disorder. Snoring and sleep apnea are related. Many people who snore also have sleep apnea. However, the conditions are not always present together.
Why Is Sleep Apnea So Dangerous?
People who suffer from sleep apnea actually stop breathing during sleep. This can happen many times during the night. When the oxygen flow to the brain is interrupted—not surprisingly—serious problems can occur.
Snoring alone doesn’t cause breathing to stop.
Patients with sleep apnea are at risk for serious health issues including high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. They are also at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
One of the most common effects of sleep apnea is daytime fatigue. This makes daily activities more difficult. Untreated sleep apnea lowers the quality of life.
The health consequences are not limited to the person with the condition. Their bed partner is also deprived of restorative sleep and, as such, is at risk of health complications.
Wondering if your health issues are a result of sleep apnea?
If you suffer from daytime sleepiness, or your partner says you stop breathing temporarily during sleep, see your doctor right away. If you want to start out with a specialist, ask your primary doctor for a recommendation. In the U.S., the American Board of Sleep Medicine certifies physicians who treat sleep disorders.
Your doctor will diagnose whether you have sleep apnea and which of the three types you have. This may require a visit to a sleep disorder clinic.