The Importance of Treating Sleep Apnea

How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Body

Sleep apnea affects more than 22 million Americans. It is a very serious disorder that causes people to stop breathing repeatedly while they’re sleeping. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in major health complications. There are two main types of sleep apnea. They include obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Learn about the different types, causes, symptoms, potential dangers, and treatment options with Breathe Clear Institute.  

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Breathing that stops for periods more than ten seconds is known as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. This type of sleep apnea is most common. An individual’s airways are blocked, thus making it difficult to inhale air. This can occur multiple times per hour in very severe cases. Some of the symptoms include snoring, dry mouth, awakening by choking, gasping for air, daytime sleepiness, and headaches. It is often associated with high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction. Many health risks can occur as a result of leaving OSA untreated. Some do not realize they may have OSA unless told by their bed partner or family member. People with this type of sleep apnea have an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, heart disease, and diabetes. To treat OSA, it is important to schedule a visit with a trusted ENT. A sleep test will be conducted that collects data during your REM and NREM cycles after sleep onset. If diagnosed, there are different treatment options depending on the severity of the case. Mild cases could be treated with the Pillar Procedure. More moderate to severe may involve nasal APAP. Surgical treatments are also available, including tonsillectomy, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, and AIRvance system. 

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain temporarily stops sending signals to the muscles of respiration. This type of apnea is more common in older adults and is typically associated with an illness. External health factors can display central sleep apnea differently. Examples of this are Cheyne-Stokes respiration, drug-induced central apnea, high altitude periodic breathing, and idiopathic central sleep apnea. Many of the symptoms include shortness of breath, insomnia, hypersomnia, chest pain, frequent awakening, and abnormal breathing patterns. The dangers of leaving central sleep apnea untreated include cardiovascular issues. It can also take a major toll on your physical and mental health as it causes fatigue. If diagnosed with central sleep apnea, there are a few treatment options that will relieve you of your symptoms. These include CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, decreasing use of narcotics, and figuring out any underlying medical conditions. 

Schedule An Appointment with Breathe Clear Institute

If you believe you or your partner may be suffering from sleep apnea or are having difficulty sleeping at night, it is important to see an ENT doctor as soon as possible. Our ENT doctors at Breathe Clear Institute specialize in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders. We will help get to the root of the problem and offer the most effective treatment plan so that you can get the much needed relief you or your loved one deserve. If you’re tired of being tired, call us to book an appointment today!