Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Several types of sleep apnea exist, but the most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. The most noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring, although not everyone who has obstructive sleep apnea snores. Anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea, although it most commonly affects older adults. It’s also especially common in people who are overweight.

Signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
* Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
* Loud snoring
* Observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep
* Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
* Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
* Morning headache
* Frequent urination at night
* Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia) 

 Consult a medical professional if you experience, or if your partner observes, the following:
* Snoring loud enough to disturb your sleep or that of others
* Shortness of breath that awakens you from sleep
* Intermittent pauses in your breathing during sleep
* Excessive daytime drowsiness, which may cause you to fall asleep while you’re working, watching television or even driving a vehicle. 

Many people don’t think of snoring as a sign of something potentially serious, and not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. But be sure to talk to your doctor if you experience loud snoring, especially snoring that’s punctuated by periods of silence. With sleep apnea, snoring typically is loudest when you sleep on your back, and it quiets when you turn on your side. 

 Information Provided Courtesy of The Mayo Clinic © http://www.mayoclinic.com

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