Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects more than 18 million Americans. It causes pauses in breathing while a person sleeps. It affects all age groups, including children.
Sleep apnea is not like any other sleep disorder. If left undetected and untreated, it can cause serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, or heart issues.
Hence, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better. That being said, unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed. No blood test can diagnose the condition. The most common symptom is lack of sleep or disturbance in sleep. An individual who has sleep apnea moves out of deep sleep into light sleep. This is because of the fact that their breathing pauses. Therefore, they feel tired the next day due to poor sleep.
Think you or a loved one has sleep apnea? Here are some signs and symptoms to watch for:
• Snoring: Excessive, loud, nonstop snoring is a major symptom of sleep apnea. Also, check for pauses or gasping in between the snoring. The snoring also gets louder as the affected individual sleeps on their back. If a loved one shows these signs, seek medical assistance immediately. Don’t wait for the problem to aggravate.
Apart from snoring, other signs include:
• Morning headaches
• Difficulty concentrating or irritability due to sleeplessness
• Learning and memory difficulties
• Mood swings
• Falling asleep at work
• Falling asleep while driving
• Dry mouth / sore throat when you wake up
Whether you or a loved one face the exact signs listed above, it’s best to consult a doctor if you have problems breathing during sleep. Try to record your sleep patterns and hours. Jot down details in notebook so that you don’t forget anything. Also, take into account your fatigue levels throughout the day. If you take any medication, let the doctor know.
Sleep apnea can be a life-threatening disorder. But, it can be addressed with the right treatment. Treatment depends on the severity of an individual’s condition. In most cases, surgery is required for severe condition. Breathing devices and mouthpieces are also effective options.
Alongside treatment, it’s important to make lifestyle changes to treat sleep apnea.
In search of personalized treatment for sleep apnea? Get in touch with us. Dr. Michael Siegel & Dr.John Bosworth provides you and your family with complete care for sleep apnea, as well as everything related to sneezing, snoring to sinus conditions and nasal congestion.