While one of every three people in the world snore, this does not mean that it is something normal that should not be worried about.
In fact, this is the main symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, a respiratory disease that prevents people from fully resting while they sleep. This disease can lead to affecting some of the body’s functions to the point that, in the most serious cases, cerebrovascular diseases can be developed.
According to internist and pulmonologist María Angélica Bazurto, Director of the Clínica de Sueño de la Fundación Neumológica Colombiana (Colombian Pulmonology Foundation Sleep Clinic), “Sleep is a biological need that directly affects the optimal physical, emotional and mental health of human beings. Getting poor sleep can lead to many health problems. One of the leading causes of sleep disorders is obstructive sleep apnea.”
This is why it is important to identify the symptoms and factors related to snoring that can serve as warning signs that you might be suffering from sleep apnea. If you feel sleepy or experience excessive tiredness during the day, or if you experience incidents at night that wake you with a choking feeling, it is best to see your doctor.
It is also common for those that suffer from sleep apnea to not be aware of these nighttime micro-awakenings; family members or those that the individual sleeps with are the ones to notice it. These are not considered common cases of snoring, but rather episodes that are so strong that it is almost as if the person were choking and were to stop breathing.
Other risk factors related to this disease is being overweight or obese. In fact, statistics have shown that sleep apnea has increased significantly along with the rise in the global epidemic of obesity.
The most concerning implications that may occur are heart and cerebrovascular conditions. Also, as a result of the lack of sleep caused by not sleeping well, there is an increased risk of workplace and car accidents.
FOCUS: Sleep apnea in children
In young children, a sign of sleep apnea can be detected through symptoms such as snoring, breathing through the mouth, daytime drowsiness or on the contrary hyperactivity.
This disorder can result in affecting children’s learning processes, as they lose their ability to concentrate due to not getting good sleep, and because it becomes more difficult to understand the material and take in new information. This may come to the point where the child suffers from attention deficit disorder.
According to figures from the Sleep Clinic, 80% of patients that enter the sleep lab go because they suspect they have sleep-disordered breathing. While the majority of cases of snoring are not related directly with sleep apnea, there is a great number of cases connected to it