Sleep apnea is a serious, chronic sleep disorder that occurs when there is a cessation in breathing while you sleep. Some people have these pauses in breathing hundreds of times throughout each night. Even though your breathing is stopped for only a small period of time, it is enough to stress your body and interrupt your sleep. Your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, anxiety and other serious health problems can increase dramatically.
Several things can cause sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a type of apnea that occurs when there is an obstruction in the airways while you sleep. This can happen as a result of obesity, a narrow throat, large tongue or tonsils, abnormal airway size or shape, and from age. Central sleep apnea is a different type of apnea, where it occurs when the brain fails to signal the body to breathe. This can happen in stroke patients, in those who are taking certain medications, or in those who have certain health problems.
Both types of sleep apnea have serious complications attached to them. Because your body is not getting the proper amount of oxygen or the rest it needs, you may be more vulnerable to high blood pressure, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, depression, obesity, attention problems and heart failure. Treatments for both types of sleep apnea are similar, and both groups of patients may need to address the underlying cause of the disorder, as well.
If you snore, struggle with consistent morning headaches or feel sleepy in spite of a full night’s sleep often, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Call us to learn more or to schedule your appointment with our team.