We’ve all felt a little sleepy at work before—that’s perfectly normal. You, on the other hand, always feel like you’re about to doze off at your desk, and your coworkers have had to tap you on the shoulder more than once. You’ve started going to bed earlier and earlier, but you still feel exhausted even when you wake up. What is the problem? If this sounds familiar to you, then you may very well have sleep apnea and Plano. While this condition might just seem annoying, it can actually be very damaging to your long term health if you don’t get treatment right away.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition where a person’s sleep is interrupted hundreds of times a night due to short cessations in breathing.
What causes this?
The most common kind of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and it occurs when the soft tissues in the mouth and throat relax during sleep and collapse into the airway, completely blocking it. In order to restore breathing, the body panics and partially wakes up with a loud snort or gasp. These blockages can occur hundreds of times an hour, and many patients don’t even realize they’re happening. This prevents them from getting the deep, restful sleep they need to feel energized and awake during the day.
However, while drowsiness may be one of the most common risks of sleep apnea, over time, it can bring about many more serious problems.
Sleep Apnea Risks
If left untreated, sleep apnea can bring about a variety of health issues, including:
- Morning headaches
- Persistent sore throat
- Chronic daytime fatigue
- Loud snoring (which can disturb a bed partner)
- Trouble focusing or remembering things
- High blood pressure
- Depression/mood swings
- Acid reflux
- Weight gain
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
Over time, many of these complications can ultimately prove fatal, and they often do. People who are constantly sleep deprived are twice as likely to have motor vehicle accidents, and those with high blood pressure have a drastically increased risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or aneurysm.
How to Get Treatment
If you believe that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, there are effective ways to treat it. CPAP therapy involves a patient wearing an air pump that keeps their airway open while they sleep, and oral appliance therapy can help alleviate symptoms using a simple custom-made mouthpiece.
Before a person can be treated, however, they first need to get a proper diagnosis, and there are two ways to do this. First, you can go to your family physician and tell them about your sleep issues, and they will refer you to a sleep doctor who can perform a sleep test. Or, you can contact a sleep clinic directly and they can organize for you to have a sleep test done at home.
In either case, once it is complete, a doctor will look at the results, determine if you have sleep apnea, and then recommend the appropriate treatment. It’s extremely important not just for your sleep, but for your overall health that you get your sleep apnea under control, because each night it goes untreated, you’re increasing your risk of developing the multitude of problems listed above.
If you believe that you have sleep apnea, please contact your doctor or a sleep clinic right away. It could be the first step to you feeling great in the morning again
About the Author
Dr. Keane Fedosky is a certified sleep dentist, and for over 20 years, he has successfully helped people treat their sleep apnea and stop snoring in Plano. He currently practices at Sleep Rehab, and if you would like to organize a home sleep test, he can be contacted through his website.