Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea (OSA) – Sleep apnea is a very serious sleep disorder in which patients stop and restart breathing while sleeping.  Symptoms of OSA include loud snoring and still feeling tired after a full night’s sleep.  OSA can increase the risk of several health problems including heart problems.  Sleep apnea is diagnosed with sleep testing.  Treatment includes using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or an auto-adjusting positive airway pressure (APAP) machine.

Dealing with occasional nights of loud snoring may be a bit of a nuisance but typically isn’t too much to worry about. However, when does nightly snoring become less of an annoyance and more of a concern? Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that unfortunately many people don’t realize they have. Of course, it’s important for an ENT doctor to diagnose and treat this sleep disorder as soon as possible to prevent more serious health complications from happening.

Signs and Symptom of Sleep Apnea

So, how do you know whether or not you have sleep apnea? While the only way to diagnose sleep apnea is through a sleep study here are some warning sign that you shouldn’t ignore,

  • Persistent, loud snoring
  • Gasping for breath throughout the night
  • Pauses in breathing during the night
  • Restless sleep or insomnia
  • Headaches, usually in the morning
  • Dry, sore throat
  • Severe daytime fatigue
  • “Brain fog”
  • Memory and concentration issues
  • Increased irritability
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty staying awake throughout the day

The problem is that a lot of the telltale symptoms associated with sleep apnea are ones that you won’t notice. Most of the time it’s the person’s partner that complains of their loud snoring or notices that they stop breathing for seconds at a time during the night; however, even if your partner isn’t noticing these symptoms, if you are experiencing intense day-long exhaustion despite getting enough sleep each night then it’s worth seeing us for an evaluation.

When it comes to sleep apnea, the sooner it is diagnosed and treated the better for a patient’s health. After all, sleep apnea causes pause in breathing frequently throughout the night, which affects how much oxygen gets to the brain. As a result, untreated obstructive sleep apnea can increase your risk for certain serious health problems including,

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea

People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop sleep apnea; therefore, losing weight can both improve symptoms of sleep apnea and may also reduce your risk if you don’t currently have sleep apnea. Other risk factors associated with sleep apnea include,

  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal changes
  • Age (sleep apnea is more common in older adults)
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Use of sedatives
  • Nasal disorders and problems

If you are dealing with symptoms of sleep apnea it’s important that you see a doctor as soon as possible for a diagnosis. Call Southern Sleep Clinics in Dothan, AL to schedule an evaluation.

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