The term sleep apnea comes from greek word apnea, and means simply “without breath.” People with sleep apnea can have interruptions in their breathing during sleep that last as long as 30 seconds, and can happen hundreds of times in a night. Over 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, although many go undiagnosed and dismiss the problem as simple snoring.
As many as 90 percent of people who suffer from sleep apnea have what is known as obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax. These muscles support your tonsils, tongue and uvula and can block the airway while you sleep.
If you have the following symptoms, you may have sleep apnea, and should consult with a physician at Atlanta ENT. Sleep apnea is no joke, and can lead to life-threatening health problems, including heart disease.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Waking with a dry mouth or throat
- Morning headaches
- Lack of energy
- Mood changes
- Loud snoring
- Abrupt awakenings during sleep
- Episodes of breathing interruptions during sleep, often characterized by a choking or snorting sound
Ramie Tritt, M.D., President, Atlanta ENT