After your partner complained that your loud snoring forced them to sleep in another room, you decided to find a sleep expert for treatment. Unfortunately, after tests have been conducted, they told you that it’s not just regular snoring; it’s a side effect of sleep apnea. What is this disorder, and what will it mean for your nightly slumber and your overall health now that you have it? Here’s everything you’ll need to know about this potentially dangerous condition.
What Does It Mean When You Have Sleep Apnea?
When you have sleep apnea, your breathing will be repeatedly interrupted while you’re asleep. While on rare occasions it’s caused by a failure of the brain to control the appropriate muscles for breathing, most of the time the disorder is brought on by an obstruction of the airway by the tongue, tonsils, uvula, relaxed throat muscles, or fatty tissues around the throat. Whenever your breathing stops, you’ll abruptly wake up so the airflow can resume. Due to these repeated awakenings, the quality of your sleep will suffer.
Will You Suffer from Sleep Apnea Every Night?
In most cases, sleep apnea won’t come and go; you’ll live with it constantly, and it will consistently disrupt your night’s rest as a result. What’s worse, the condition is likely to stop your breathing multiple times every night. In fact, patients with the most severe form of the disorder can expect up to 400 stops every night!
What Does Living with Sleep Apnea Mean for Your Health?
It probably goes without saying that if you don’t sleep well, you’ll find yourself feeling exhausted during the day. You’ll find it harder to focus, you’ll experience irritability and mood swings, and you could even doze off while driving or operating heavy machinery. The longer you live with sleep apnea, the harder it will be for you to function normally during the day.
If you ignore your sleep apnea, it could end up having serious consequences for your body. Most notably, the disorder is linked to high blood pressure and cardiovascular issues such as heart attacks and strokes. In other words, sleep apnea could put your life in danger – unless you do something about it.
How Can You Treat Sleep Apnea?
If you snore loudly, experience frequent daytime drowsiness, or notice other potential warning signs for sleep apnea, get in touch with a sleep clinic right away. After you’ve been diagnosed, you can consider treatment options. While sleep apnea is traditionally addressed with CPAP therapy, patients who can’t tolerate the machine might benefit from using an oral appliance instead.
Remember: sleep apnea is unlikely to go away on its own. If you want to ensure that you’re enjoying sweet dreams and keeping your body healthy, seek professional help as soon as you think something is wrong!
About the Author
Dr. Keane Fedosky has over 20 years of experience helping patients sleep soundly and stop snoring with oral appliance therapy. His practice, Sleep Rehab, is dedicated to providing quality treatment for patients who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. To schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (972) 753-3737.