Sleep-disordered breathing directly interferes with a human’s ability to function and severely reduces quality of life. Symptoms may include snoring, pauses in breathing described by bed partners, and disturbed sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is by far the most common form of sleep-disordered breathing, is associated with many other adverse health consequences, including an increased risk of death.

1.  Snoring is not the only indicator that there may be a more serious problem, like sleep apnea.

The pauses in breathing that happen when the airway is blocked and the gasping for breath when breathing resumes are the sure signs of a problem, especially if it happens frequently during sleep.

2. The list of health conditions with ties to untreated OSA continues to grow longer.

The evidence for OSA contributing to cardiovascular disease is clear. OSA has ties to metabolic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes. Depression and other forms of mental illness can be linked to OSA. Recent research is now establishing a connection with certain types of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep-disordered breathing is common; we all snore from time to time. But that does not mean we should ignore it. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one — talk to your doctor to find out if testing is needed.

3. Nocturia or frequent nighttime urination can also be an indicator of sleep apnea (OSA).

It is the result of a chain reaction that starts with negative pressure in the chest from attempts to breath with a blocked airway. This increases the amount of blood in the heart to unsafe levels. The heart responses by releasing an enzyme — atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) — which signals to the kidneys “gotta go."

Another benefit of this is that the sleeping person wakes up and normal breathing resumes. Something that those with treated OSA notice after starting treatment is that the need to go, goes away.