Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder caused by abnormal pauses in breathing or abnormally low breathing, during sleep. The pauses are known as apnea, which can last seconds or minutes and occur several times throughout each hour. It is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram, or “sleep study”.
It could be difficult to differentiate snoring and snoring associated to sleep apnea. The distinction is how you feel when you wake up in the morning. Sleep apnea can cause fatigue and headaches, irritability and/or depression, difficulty learning, remembering, and concentrating, and mouth breathing (common in children with sleep apnea).
It’s important to realize that sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition, as it can cause extra stress to the heart and lungs and lead to hypertension and fatal arrhythmia.