07 Oct I think I have sleep apnea: What steps should I take?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects emotional and physical health. With recent developments in research, more folks are becoming aware of sleep apnea and some wonder if this disorder is affecting their livelihood and health. Our skilled and experienced oral surgeons can help you determine the best course of treatment for addressing sleep apnea and its effects.
What causes sleep apnea?
Nasal and oral abnormalities or soft tissues obstructing breathing during sleep can cause sleep apnea. For example, nasal polyps or a deviated septum can impair breathing through the nose while an enlarged uvula can obstruct oral airways.
How does sleep apnea affect rest?
When airways are obstructed during sleep, the patient will experience breathing pauses for short periods, up to a minute in duration. Since the body is at rest, the brain must send signals to wake the sleeper so that regular breathing is reinitiated. The cycle of breathing cessation and slight waking occurs many times throughout the night and impedes a patient from naturally progressing through each stage of sleep.
Over time, sleep apnea will result in severe sleep deprivation and fatigue.
How does sleep apnea affect overall health?
In addition to the immediate effects of sleep deprivation, such as malaise and trouble concentrating, patients will eventually suffer from emotional and cognitive impairment. Some patients may experience depression and anxiety along with memory loss. Research suggests that sleep apnea also weakens the heart because patients’ heartbeats are irregular throughout the night. This may lead to cardiovascular illness—especially if obstructive sleep apnea goes undiagnosed.
What are some common symptoms of sleep apnea?
Common symptoms associated with sleep apnea include excessive snoring and gasping for air during sleep. Many patients wake up in the morning with headaches and dry mouth, too. High blood pressure, memory loss, and irritability may also signal the presence of sleep apnea.
If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, you should schedule a sleep study and an appointment with one of our oral surgeon. At your appointment, an examination with our team can reveal the root cause of nasal or oral airway obstruction.
Contact any of our four convenient locations today to schedule your professional consultation.