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Obstructive Sleep Apnea

When we sleep, the combination of gravity and our muscles relaxing allows the tongue and surrounding soft tissues to fall back into the throat obstructing airflow in the airway. This causes pauses in breathing. These pauses are called apneas.

The word apnea means without breath. A person is diagnosed with sleep apnea when their breathing stops during sleep for more than ten seconds, five or more times per hour, accompanied by a drop in blood oxygen level and a disruption of sleep.

Sleep apnea airway diagram | Real model | Pristine Sleep Services

An apnea can last anywhere from a few seconds to over a minute. The struggle to breathe will eventually cause the person to momentarily arouse, opening the throat allowing then to breathe again. These arousals are brief and typically not remembered the next morning. More prolonged apneas may cause the sufferer to fully awaken to a frightening feeling of choking. Someone with severe sleep apnea can experience 30 or more events like this each hour.


During each apnea episode, the brain send signals to the body to breathe. These continual interruptions in sleep disrupt the body’s normal sleep cycle preventing the deep, restorative sleep our bodies need.


Some of the short-term consequences of sleep apnea are excessive daytime sleepiness, lack of energy, poor concentration, irritability, slowed reflexes and an increased risk of accidents.

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Health Risks

During apnea episodes, the lungs aren’t filling with air and therefore aren’t providing the body with oxygen. This dramatically reduces oxygen levels in the blood which can lead to a variety of physiological changes effecting the blood vessels and heart.

Nothing will cause panic more quickly than not being able to breathe. During these apneas, the heart is stressed, blood pressure and heart rate increase, stress related hormones are released along with an increase in production of compounds that produce inflammation.

Continuously interrupted sleep can result in serious health-related problems. Potential longer-term health issues that may result from untreated sleep apnea include:


  • Sudden death
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • ADHD
  • Depression & Anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • High blood pressure
Common Symptoms of

Sleep Apnea

  • Frequent, loud snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Chronic exhaustion even after a full night’s sleep
  • Gasping, choking or snorting during sleep
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Grinding your teeth at night
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unstable mood
  • Urinating frequently throughout the night
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
At Pristine sleep center, we can help you

discover the benefits of a restful Night’s sleep.