Sleep apnea — the involuntary stoppage of breathing while asleep — severely impacts the quality of life of those who suffer from it. The condition has been shown to be most common among men, in particular those who are obese, abuse alcohol, or were born with an airway that’s physiologically narrow. Sleep apnea can reduce the amount of quality rest you get on a nightly basis. And when you let sleep apnea go on too long without treatment, the negative health effects begin to multiply, increasing the odds of serious complication.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
One of the most obvious symptoms is snoring that’s loud enough to prevent others from sleeping. The noise can even awaken the person who’s snoring. This disrupted sleep leads to chronic drowsiness during the day. Obesity, waking up with headaches, persistent dry mouth, and bouts of breathlessness that last a minute or longer are other signs that air pathways are seriously obstructed during sleep, which is referred to as obstructive sleep apnea.
Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain doesn’t properly instruct the throat muscles to breathe, causing a similar effect as the obstructive variety. In some cases, apnea is related to both central and obstructive types at the same time.
Even though the National Sleep Foundation asserts that more than 18 million Americans suffer from this condition, the American Sleep Apnea Association states that “the vast majority of sleep apnea patients remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated, despite the fact that this serious disorder can have significant consequences.”
Serious Health Problems
When left untreated, sleep apnea may result in extended periods of sleeplessness and even insomnia, which places sufferers at greater risk of developing a variety of deadly ailments. Insomnia and chronic sleeplessness may lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, depression, and anxiety. Reaction time and coordination are also reduced, which can cause a greater probability of being involved in accidents. Sleep apnea can even result in reduced occupational employment and damaged memory.
The longer that people suffer from sleep apnea, the more impact the symptoms have on their day-to-day schedule.
Is Sleep Apnea Affecting Your Sleep Pattern?
Both snoring and sleep apnea are common conditions that can have a profound effect on the lives of those who have them, and the lives of the people they live with. At Houston Sinus & Allergy, we have helped hundreds of people to stop snoring and fix their sleep apnea, and get the sleep they need, and we can help you too.