Snoring is not always just a normal annoying occurrence. Snoring may be a symptom of a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea have pauses in breathing during sleep which end with arousal that interrupts a good, refreshing sleep. They may experience loud snoring, choking and gasp as they struggle to breathe again. These episodes may occur multiple times in a night.
Often people with the disorder are unaware of any problem while they sleep, but awaken feeling poorly refreshed and tired. This excessive sleepiness may cause poor job performance and falling asleep at inappropriate times, such as during work or while driving a motorized vehicle. Sleep apnea, if left untreated, can cause people to experience symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain. It may lead to high blood pressure and increased risk for stroke or heart attack.