Sleep Apnea: Are you at risk?
Snoring while sleeping is a reason for embarrassment for people these days as they fear being mocked. Though, if it is a regular affair and occurs frequently accompanied by fatigue, it could be a sleeping disorder. It commonly remains undiagnosed and untreated, because people avoid talking about it.
Sleeping disorders can affect your mood during the day and disrupt your daily activities. It can also hamper your relationships and be a potential threat to your health. There is always a solution to the problem. Getting help improves your energy. All you need to do is, overcome your embarrassment and take appropriate assistance.
What is Sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleeping sickness that causes interrupted breathing or pauses in breathing while you’re asleep. The patient of sleep apnea is mostly not aware of this problem as it occurs when he is sleeping and can be known when someone complains about their snoring.
Types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: In this category of apnea, the tissue on the back of the throat relaxes or collapses blocking the airway periodically which stops the air from reaching your lungs. It can make you snore loudly or make noises in your sleep. If it leads to your brain getting oxygen deprived, it will disrupt your sleep, and you will wake up. Thus, lack of proper sleep will rob you of your usual energy and sharpness and leaves you feeling fatigued and slow.
- Central sleep apnea: It is not a very commonly occurring disorder. It involves the central nervous system and arises when the brain stops sending signals to the muscle controlling the breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea: It is when both the obstructive and central sleep apnea occurs together.
Are you at risk for Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is not an age bound disorder and can occur at any age. Though, there are a few factors that are known to be related to sleep apnea:
- Excessive weight.
- Larger neck than normal.
- Age more than 40.
- Having a smaller jaw bone or having larger tonsils or tongue.
- Genetically acquired.
- Male gender predilection.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Nasal obstruction.
Potential Risks of Sleep Apnea.
Sleep apnea may seem like a harmless disorder, but it can lead to some severe health problems:
- Increasing of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
- Heart problems like heart attack and heart failure.
- High blood pressure.
- Tiredness and irritation.
How to identify sleep apnea?
It is difficult to know if you are a patient of sleep apnea as it occurs while you are asleep. You can use the help of a partner or friend in identifying your symptoms. People also get confused between sleep apnea and snoring. The principal difference is that snoring might cause disturbances to other people, but it doesn’t affect your sleep. Here are some signs and symptoms that could help you identify sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring every time you sleep
- Pauses during breathing
- Choking or gasping sounds after the break
- Waking up due to the choking
- Fatigue during the day along with tiredness
- Having a sore throat and a dry mouth on waking
- Insomnia or disturbed sleep
- Headaches in the morning
- Difficulty in concentration
- Irritability and moodiness
Treatment options for Sleep Apnea
There are various treatment options for sleep apnea depending upon your symptoms.
- Continuous positive airway pressure: It is a choice of treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea. An automatic airway pressure device is used to treat the disorder. It is connected to a tube and a plastic facial mask. The mask is worn by the patient, and it opens the airway of the patient by releasing pressurized air.
- Weight loss: Sleep apnea is known to be related to obesity. Losing weight has shown a significant decrease in sleep apnea symptoms.
- Surgery: Surgery is an option for people who have not shown signs of recovery after the other treatments. Some of the surgical options are:
- Nasal obstruction: Septoplasty and turbinate surgery are done to remove the nasal obstruction.
- Pharyngeal Obstruction: Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and tonsillectomy can be done.
- Maxillomandibular advancement.
- Radiofrequency ablation.
- Palatal implants.
- Bariatric surgery.
Sleep apnea is amongst the most ignored disorder and can lead to severe risks and complications. Dr. Atif Sohail, from the Arlington Sleep Apnea Clinic, recommends that if you see any of these signs then book an appointment with the doctor right away and save yourself from potential risks that could follow.