What is sleep apnea? It is often confused with snoring, Just because you snore at night does not mean that you have it, although it often goes with snoring.
And what happens is, people have periods during the night where they stop breathing. Usually they’re snoring and all of a sudden, they just stop breathing for a few seconds. And then, they take a big breath and they start again. That is sleep apnea. And that can happen many times during the night.
If you doesn’t have a sleeping partner, you may not know that you’ve got it. And what they suffer during the day is daytime tardiness. There is also an association with high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.
Whether that’s because you’re a bit more overweight and have an unhealthy lifestyle, or whether it’s because of the sleep apnea itself, is not entirely clear. But it does need to be managed.
Dr Norman Swan, Physician and Journalist