Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder where breathing is disrupted repeatedly during sleep. The "apnea" in sleep apnea refers to a pause of breath that lasts at least ten seconds. This condition occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, or when the brain fails to properly control breathing during sleep.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Chronic snoring
- Constant sleepiness
- Learning and memory difficulties
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart attacks, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke
Sleep apnea can have several negative effects on your health. Individuals with this condition may find that they are always tired or sleepy during the day. This can interfere with daily activities and decrease your overall quality of life. Sleep apnea has been linked to obesity and high blood pressure, which increase the strain on your heart.