Your snoring can be irritating for your partner, but did you know that it could mean that you have a medical condition called sleep apnea? It’s more than just a simple annoyance for your partner. Sleep apnea consists of breaks in your breathing while you sleep. Your brain wakes your body up to resume breathing, but these lapses in breathing can last for more than ten seconds and can occur between five and thirty times per hour per night, preventing restful sleep for you as well. Sleep apnea does more than impact your sleep at night. In fact, sleep apnea in Hulen could have serious repercussions on your health. Check out this helpful information about this serious condition.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
It is important to recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea so that you can seek treatment if necessary. Some of the signs of sleep apnea include the following:
- Chronic, loud snoring.
- Headaches, particularly in the morning.
- Sore throat in the morning.
- Frequent waking during the night.
- Gasping for air during sleep.
- Daytime fatigue.
- Tiredness upon waking, despite getting enough sleep.
- Moodiness or depression.
Health Effects of Not Treating Sleep Apnea
Choosing to “tough it out” on your own with sleep apnea is not a good idea. It can cause several serious medical complications that can affect the quality and even the length of your life. Here are just three ways that untreated sleep apnea can impact you.
High Blood Pressure
With each lapse in breathing comes a spike in your blood pressure. Over time, your body becomes so used to these spikes that they can become the norm, even while you’re awake. High blood pressure brings its own risks of heart disease and stroke, two of the most common causes of death in the United States.
Increased Risk of Heart Failure and Stroke
Even without high blood pressure, sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart failure and stroke. A small break in your breathing deprives your brain and heart of oxygen for short period of time. But your brain releases the stress hormone to wake you up enough to resume breathing. If you add up all those breaks over the course of a night, it can lead to trouble. Sleep apnea can expose the heart and circulation to harmful stimuli that can contribute to the development or progression of cardiovascular diseases.
Without adequate sleep, you face many possible dangers, especially while driving or operating machinery. After all, drowsiness at the wheel can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Also, regular fatigue can cause you to avoid exercise, eat more unhealthily, and develop depression or mood disorders.
In the end, the benefits of seeking and getting treatment far outweigh any reason for avoiding it. At minimum, you and your partner could get a better night’s sleep day after day, improving your quality of life and your relationship. At most, you could reduce your risk of a life-threatening event. Your health is worth taking seriously by talking to a dentist who can refer you to a sleep clinic for a sleep study. You’ll be one step closer to better sleep and better health.
About the Author
Dr. Renee Corbitt has decades of dental experience, including in sleep medicine. has completed UCLA’s sleep medicine mini-residency, which gives her the ability to screen patients for sleep apnea. She can refer patients to a sleep clinic if necessary to seek treatment. To schedule an appointment with her, you can call (817) 294-8821 or click here.