What are the Dangers of Sleep Apnea?
Snoring can sometimes not be taken very seriously, but it may be a sign of sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition.
In this blog, our doctors of Sleep & Neuroscience Associates, who is board-certified in sleep medicine and neurology, outlines some common dangers of sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea or what is commonly known as sleep apnea is a common yet serious sleep disorder that causes repeated pauses in breathing while you sleep. These pauses may occur several times or more an hour and last from a few seconds to minutes. As normal breathing starts again, you may make a snorting, gasping, or snoring sound.
This disorder causes your quality of sleep to be poor due to sleep disruption and sleep fragmentation. Many people who have sleep apnea aren’t even aware that they have it.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can cause a long list of symptoms and also increase your risk of a number of serious chronic medical conditions.
Symptoms may include the following:
- Loud snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Sore throat or dry mouth in the morning
- Morning headache
- Trouble with memory, focus and concentration or “brain fog”
- Depression or mood disorders
What are common dangers of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect your overall well being, causing mood and personality changes due to a lack of restful sleep. You may also be at a greater risk of feeling drowsy or falling asleep while driving or performing work-related tasks.
Sleep apnea dangers also include an increased risk of developing chronic health conditions. The disorder can cause you to be more likely to develop heart disease (including heart rhythm problems, stroke, and heart attack), high blood pressure, and diabetes. If you already have diabetes, it can make your blood sugar control more difficult.
What are the treatment options for sleep apnea?
A sleep study can be used to confirm or rule out the presence of sleep apnea, and once it’s diagnosed, you can begin treatment.
Treatment options for sleep apnea include the following:
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy – This machine delivers a steady stream of air pressure that helps keep your airway open.
- Lifestyle modifications – Symptoms may improve if you lose weight or stop smoking, avoid alcohol, and positional therapy.
- Medical management – Certain medication can sometimes be used to treat sleep apnea, depending on the severity of your condition.
- Oral appliance therapy – Custom-made oral appliances can be worn at night to help keep your airway open.
- Inspire therapy – A small device can be surgically implanted on your chest wall to deliver mild stimulation that helps keep your airway open.
- Surgical options – If you have more severe sleep apnea that hasn’t responded well to other treatments, surgery may be an option.
If you’re experiencing snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, or other symptoms associated with sleep apnea, make an appointment today with our doctors at Sleep & Neuroscience Associates.
He’ll recommend the most effective, least invasive forms of treatment that will help you get better sleep, improve your overall health, and reduce your chances of being affected by sleep apnea dangers.