Sleep apnea is characterized by loud, chronic snoring that is interrupted by pauses in breathing during sleep. These periods of stopped breathing are known as apneas, and they are caused by an obstruction preventing the person from breathing. An apnea may temporarily wake a person up, but this awakening is usually so brief that the person will not even remember it happened in the morning. These pauses in breathing can occur potentially hundreds of times every night. It is very important to see a professional if you realize these apneas are occurring to you.
Sleep apnea causes low levels of oxygen in the blood because the cessation of breathing prevents air from getting to the lungs. These low oxygen levels also affect brain and heart function. Nearly two-thirds of people with sleep apnea are also overweight.
Researchers have found that there may be a possible link between sleep apnea and diabetes because sleep apnea leads to a decrease in growth hormone, which plays a key role in body composition such as body fat, muscle, and abdominal fat. Fortunately, treating sleep apnea may also reduce the severity of the symptoms of diabetes, so talk to your doctor about your treatment options.