In obstructive sleep apnea, the airways close during sleep. This can lead to loud snoring and lapses in breathing that can occur hundreds of times a night. Many people with OSA are not aware that they have a sleep disorder, and can snore, choke, and wake up over and over without ever being aware of it. A family member or bed partner often notices a person's poor sleep and their daytime symptoms.
The frequent interruptions of restorative sleep caused by sleep apnea can result in excessive daytime sleepiness and, in some cases, an early morning headache. Left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to serious medical problems. These include an irregular heart rate, heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Children with sleep apnea, on the other hand, may become hyperactive, rather than sleepy, during the day. This can cause problems with performance at school.
Like people with obstructive sleep apnea, those with central sleep apnea may also sleep poorly, and be sleepy during the day.
The symptoms below can indicate many sleep disorders. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, discuss your sleeping problems or concerns with your healthcare provider:
Last reviewed on 09/20/2006
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