Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common sleep disorder. It occurs when the throat muscles relax during sleep, causing your airway to become narrowed or blocked. This causes brief and frequent arousals from sleep throughout the night as your brain wakes you briefly so you will resume breathing again.
It’s estimated some 20 to 30 percent of people have sleep apnea, but 90 percent of folks don’t realize they have it. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health issues. It has been linked to high blood pressure, heart rhythm problems, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes control issues, decreased seizure threshold and exacerbation of chronic pain issues.
If it is determined that you may have a sleep problem that requires further evaluation, you may be recommended for an overnight or home sleep study. The Sleep Disorders Center at Nebraska Medicine can help.