Sleep Apnea and the Obese Patient
by Randal S. Baker, MD, FACS
Loud snoring is a common sign of a breathing problem that can lead to other issues. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, approximately 10 to 30 percent of adults snore. Loud snoring, however, is a sign of a serious disorder and affects about five in every 100 people.
When a person snores, it is because the breathing passages in the back of the throat are narrowed and not fully open, thus restricting the amount of air taken in while sleeping. It is like trying to breathe through a wet, sloppy noodle. When the body cannot get enough air, it signals the brain to breathe harder and force the air in (that terrible snoring sound), or if it cannot get any air in (and you stop breathing); it wakes the body up in order to correct the problem.
This can happen hundreds of times a night, and the cumulative effect can lead to chronic sleepiness, trouble concentrating and even depression. The body’s repeated lack of restorative sleep over an extended period can also lead to more serious problems as well, including high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.