What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night's sleep, you might have sleep apnea.
The main types of sleep apnea are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax
- Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, which occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea
The signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas overlap, sometimes making it difficult to determine which type you have. The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — which would be reported by another person
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Awakening with a dry mouth
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Difficulty paying attention while awake
The Effects of Sleep Apnea on the Body
Sleep apnea does more than make you sleepy, though. When left untreated, it can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and other long-term health risks.
High blood pressure. Untreated sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure and may make it more difficult to control your blood pressure with medication.
Difficulty concentrating. OSA can reduce your ability to think clearly, leading to poor work performance and reliance on stimulants such as caffeine and sugary foods.
Heart disease. Sleep apnea is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke and blood clots in the legs. The risk is higher with moderate or severe OSA and other comorbidities.
Car accidents. OSA may make you excessively sleepy and cause you to fall asleep at the wheel. The risk of fatal car accidents is much greater.
Emotional concerns. OSA is associated with emotional disturbances and may increase the risk of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Surgery complications. Untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of airway obstructions, abnormal heart rhythms and other complications during surgery.
Sleep apnea & snoring can affect not only yours but also your partners quality of life and keep you from living your life to the fullest. Since every Sleep apnea & snoring patient has different needs, it is important for Dr Virk to evaluate you to determine which unique treatment plan can maximize results for you. If you think you may have Sleep apnea & snoring, or if you just have questions, please feel free to contact us to make an appointment!
Note: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.