What you need to know about sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which an individual’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Symptoms include daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, and restless sleep.
The involuntary pause in breathing can result either from a blocked airway or a signaling problem in the brain. Most people with the condition have the first kind, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea due to a signaling problem is known as central sleep apnea (CSA).
The person will unknowingly stop breathing repeatedly throughout sleep. Once the airway is opened or the breathing signal is received, the person may snort, take a deep breath, or awaken completely with a sensation of gasping, smothering, or choking.
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to potentially serious health complications, such as heart disease and depression. It can also leave a person feeling drowsy, increasing the risk of accidents while driving or working.