Do you routinely catch yourself dozing off in the afternoon? Does your partner constantly complain about your snoring? Are you feeling like you just aren’t sleeping well at night, even though you can’t remember tossing or turning? If so, you may be suffering from a common but under-diagnosed problem known as obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea & Health Risks
Sleep Apnea is a very underdiagnnosed condition that has significant negative health implications and can be life threatening.
Characterized by loud and frequent snoring, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your breathing stops often while you sleep because the muscles relax which causes the tongue and soft tissue to collapse onto the back of the throat, blocking the airway and cutting off oxygen to the brain and interupting sleep. If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially life threatening disease that can increase the risk for serious health problems. These problems include congestive heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, neurocognitive effects and even death.
OSA is a common problem that affects nearly 54 million people in the U.S. Although it can occur at any age, the risk increases as you get older. While the sleep disorder is more common in men, it can occur in women, especially during and after menopause. Children can also suffer from snoring and sleep disruptions (read more about children and sleep apnea here.) however, we do not treat children under the age of 18 for sleep apnea but we can evaluate them if you feel your child might have this condition.
Signs That You May Have Sleep Apnea
Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself is, are you getting a good night’s sleep and feeling rested when you wake up? If not, pay attention to the following warning signs.
· Loud, frequent snoring
· Breathing pauses – By definition, sleep apnea involves repeated breathing pauses throughout the night. You may gasp for breath and wake up frequently throughout the night.
· Excessive daytime sleepiness and feeling sluggish and tired throughout the day
· Memory problems
· Morning headaches
· Acid reflux symptoms such as indigestion and heart burn or chest pain
To learn more visit our Frequently Asked Questions page