Morning headaches, waking with a dry mouth, and sleepiness throughout the day are just three signs that you may have sleep apnea. During sleep, tissue in your throat collapses and blocks your airway, forcing your brain to wake you slightly so that you resume breathing. It can happen many times during a single night, and you may remain unaware of the interruptions.
Usually accompanied by loud snoring, sleep apnea is potentially a serious threat to your health, contributing to a wide range of chronic health conditions. Visiting with snoring specialists like the team at Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat provides you with a partner in sleep apnea care.
Types of sleep apnea
There are two distinct types of sleep apnea, as well as a type that combines both. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is the most common, a physical issue resulting from airway blockages during sleep. Central sleep apnea is a neurological condition where the brain fails to regulate breathing. When you have a combination of these, it’s called complex sleep apnea.
Symptoms of sleep apnea
Regardless of the type of sleep apnea you have, the symptoms are often the same or overlapping. The three most common symptoms are:
- Snoring: while not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, sleep apnea patients almost always snore loudly
- Breathing interruptions: though the patient may be unaware, partners may notice when breathing stops and restarts
- Daytime sleepiness: without a proper sleep cycle due to sleep apnea, your body doesn’t rest and restore itself fully
Patients may also wake with signs that sleep apnea was active, including a headache or an inability to fall back asleep. Concentration and mood can be affected during the day as well.
Threats to your health
For sleep apnea patients with jobs that demand alertness, such as drivers and machine operators, there may be functional dangers connected with the condition. Sleep apnea can also lead to other health conditions.
Type 2 diabetes
Sleep apnea can increase your chances of developing insulin resistance, a condition that leads to the high blood glucose levels associated with type 2 diabetes.
High blood pressure
Oxygen levels in the blood drop when you suffer a sleep apnea interruption. Your body responds by pumping blood harder, putting strain on the cardiovascular system. This contributes to chronic high blood pressure.
Sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart attack, irregular heartbeat, and stroke. For patients with heart disease, sleep apnea contributes to periods of low blood oxygen, which can be fatal when combined with an irregular heartbeat event.
Sleep apnea increases the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that could lead to the most common form of chronic liver disease.
There are some serious health repercussions connected with sleep apnea. Make an appointment online or by phone with Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat if you suspect you’re suffering from the condition. The sooner you start treatment, the sooner you’ll lower your health risks, so schedule your visit today.