There could be something lurking when you sleep that will keep you from getting a good night’s rest. It will affect the way you breathe, the way your partner sleeps, and the way you wake up. It can even affect your body’s health. The culprit? Sleep apnea.
That’s right, millions of patients are suffering from sleep apnea every single night, and some of them aren’t aware of their condition! You might just think that you’re not a sound sleeper, maybe you blame it on the snoring. The truth is that you could have a life-threatening condition and have no idea.
Today, we want to talk about the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea as well as the treatment options available to you. There are great risks if you ignore sleep apnea, and just as there are great benefits when you finally get the treatment you need! Let’s start at the beginning: what is it?
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea comes in two forms. The most common is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which means that your airway has difficulty staying open due to obstructions caused by soft tissues in the throat. The second is called central sleep apnea (CSA), which is a condition where the brain doesn’t tell the body to keep breathing.
Both are terrifying. A vast majority of sleep apnea patients suffer from the first version, which is the sleep apnea condition we will be discussing today. If you are concerned that you might suffer from CSA, it is imperative that you talk with your physician as soon as possible!
Know the Signs
The most common sign that you might be suffering from sleep apnea is loud, routine snoring. Sleep apnea patients are known for their deep, loud nighttime noise. Your partner will be very familiar with that, but your partner might also notice that you often hesitate to breathe. You might gasp or catch your breath in the middle of your sleep. These are all signs that you need to be checked right away.
You might actually wake up on your own, gasping for breath. Your throat could be very sore or dry when you get up in the morning. Morning headaches, tiredness, and sleepiness while driving are also common side-effects of sleep apnea.
The Risks of Ignoring Sleep Apnea
As with anything else, it is tempting to ignore the signs of a serious condition. Whether you are afraid to find out the truth or are just nervous about treatment options, sleep apnea is nothing that you should ignore!
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to many serious medical conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, heart conditions, depression, constant headaches, etc. On top of all of that, you just won’t feel like yourself! You’ll be grumpy, lacking energy, and have difficulty completing tasks at work.
How Can I Get Rid of It?
By now, we hope that you can see the importance of treating sleep apnea quickly and efficiently. This isn’t something that will go away. If anything, you are at risk of it getting worse over time. You can begin by simply changing some of your habits. OSA can be greatly improved through simple habit changes like the changes we list below.
Change These Habits to Improve OSA Symptoms
Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol (and other relaxants, like sleeping pills) will make it more difficult for your muscles to hold your airway open on its own.
Stop Smoking: Smoking causes your airway to swell, which will in turn make it more difficult for you to maintain an open airway.
Change How You Sleep: Lying on your back will cause your airway to fall closed. Gravity can work for you by simply changing your sleeping position from your back to your side or stomach.
Lose Weight: Research shows that losing 10% of body weight can improve OSA by up to 30%! That’s a great reason to jump on the treadmill a bit more often.
The CPAP is a very common treatment device for sleep apnea patients. The patient wears a mask that is attached to an air machine. The machine pumps air down your airway to help hold it open so that you can rest comfortably. The problem is that the machine is noisy, and many patients don’t feel comfortable sleeping in the mask!
Our recommendation, after you adjust your habits, is to come see us for an oral appliance. The oral appliance will force your lower jaw forward. While you sleep, the lower jaw stays forward which holds the airway open so that you can rest comfortably!
You won’t wake up gasping for breath, you won’t snore nearly as much, and your entire body will benefit from the constant flow of oxygen!
Your Entire Household Benefits
Our primary concern is that you would be healthy. Sleep apnea is no joke. With the risks we listed above, you should realize that this is something we need to take care of right away. With that being said, once you are getting back to normal, your entire household will benefit as well!
You weren’t getting much sleep, but no one else in your house was either! Your partner, your kids, and anyone else sleeping near you was suffering from listening to your constant snoring, gasping, etc. Once your household gets more sleep, you will see an immediate difference.
Imagine waking up in the morning and feeling rested! How would that change your family’s morning routine and experience? You will be shocked at the difference! You, your loved ones, and maybe even your pets will be in better moods simply because you are getting better sleep.
Learn More Today
Sleep apnea is a definite concern. If you are afraid that it is affecting your sleep habits and life, don’t hesitate to call us today! We can help you get sleep tested, which will let us know what’s going on while you are asleep!
Once we know if you have sleep apnea or not, we can proceed with a treatment plan that will benefit you and your entire family. Contact us today, and let’s get started on a path to a healthier you!