What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea simply refers to repeated pauses or interruptions of breathing during sleep. Each pause can last a few seconds or longer and can happen repeatedly. The most common type of apnea is Obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when throat muscles relax, blocking the airway.
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
- Loud snoring is the most common indicator, but it doesn’t always indicate apnea.
- Interruptions in nighttime breathing, gasping for breath and/or restless sleep.
- Waking in the morning with a headache; waking up tired; waking with a very dry mouth.
- Feeling excessively sleepy during the daytime, even with adequate sleep time.
- Dosing or falling asleep in situations such as reading, sitting quietly, even pausing at a traffic stop.
- Unusual irritability.
Here’s the Bad News. Effects of Sleep Apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea, and the snoring that accompanies it will generally impact the sleep of a bedroom partner. Other potential effects are even more serious and include: high blood pressure or heart problems, an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, complications with medicines and surgery, potential liver problems, and even safety problems including falling asleep in traffic or in work-place functions.
How do I Know if I’m at Risk?
Consider these factors and see a medical professional for sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment if you can say yes to any of the following:
- over the age of 40
- over weight
- Heart disorder or had a stroke
- using narcotic pain medication
The Good News. Sleep Apnea Treatments:
Simple lifestyle changes can help, such as: losing weight, not sleeping on your back, avoiding tobacco and alcohol. Most importantly, medical professionals have developed some very effective treatment options to address this problem in safe and effective ways. Those include effective dental corrections to modify jaw position, dental devices to keep the airway more open during sleep and CPAP machines.
Get Professional Help
At the Breathing and Sleep Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, we provide medical diagnosis and treatments to help patients suffering from sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.