Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious disorder where breathing may be halted or slowed during sleep. It occurs when the windpipe is obstructed by any of a number of things: This can include excess flesh, muscle problems, tongue or tonsil obstruction or other issues. These cause the windpipe to be temporarily blocked. The prevention of air to the lungs causes alarm within the body and a person is awakened. Cases where sleep apnea is severe show that this halt in breathing can happen hundreds of times during one night. Due to the fact that it is potentially life threatening, it is a good idea to know the signs and find out if one has sleep apnea.

For many, snoring is just a part of life. Partners and families learn to sleep through whatever chorus of sounds one may produce. However, it is important to know when snoring may mean something else. Snoring should not be ignored when it is loud and constant. There are other symptoms to look out for that can help determine if one has obstructive sleep apnea.

Besides snoring, there are other signs and symptoms that could alert you to the possibility of having obstructive sleep apnea. Waking up during the night and gasping for air should not be disregarded; chest pain during the night is another symptom that shouldn’t be taken lightly as well. The more obvious ones are directly related to not getting sufficient rest. One may feel excessively tired or drowsy—a mental fog may settle in, making it difficult to make decisions or think clearly. Other signs include high blood pressure, irritability, memory trouble, weight gain and restless sleep.

It is important to talk to your doctor if these signs are noticed, even if they may not appear to be that severe.  Left untreated, sleep apnea greatly increases risk of heart disease, stroke or other serious issues. Treatment options are available to help manage sleep apnea. So don’t take snoring or restless sleep lightly; it may be that your body is trying to tell you something.