Do you feel sleepy despite a full night’s sleep? Do you often find yourself waking up at night and gasping for air? These are some of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic sleep problem. Weight, sex, and family health history are some of the factors that increase your risk of this condition. Learning more about OSA will help you understand when a visit to the doctor is needed and why it’s vital to receive diagnosis and treatment.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common kind of sleep apnea. It is characterized by occurrences of stopped breathing during sleep due to your throat muscles’ intermittent movement. The throat muscles of a person with OSA tend to relax too much, thus narrowing your airways and making it difficult to breathe during sleep. This may last for up 10 seconds or longer, causing a decrease in your blood’s oxygen level and carbon dioxide buildup.
You may suddenly wake up when this occurs, reopening the airway. This disturbance in your sleep is very short. However, it still prevents you from getting deep, restful sleep. You can also wake up abruptly, gasping for air or choking. Other symptoms of this condition include:
- Loud snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Having a sore throat or dry mouth upon waking up
- Morning headache
- Mood changes
- Concentration difficulties
- High blood pressure
- Nighttime sweating
Anyone can develop this condition, but some factors may increase your risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Men, in particular, are more susceptible to OSA. Weight also plays a factor as being overweight may obstruct the upper airway. Additionally, research has shown that people with asthma, diabetes, and hypertension are more likely to have this sleeping problem.
Why Should You Seek Diagnosis and Treatment?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially severe condition that can lead to several complications if not diagnosed and treated. The symptoms of OSA can also hurt your relationship with other people because of the disturbance it causes.
OSA stops you from having nourishing sleep, as you will wake up throughout the night. This results in daytime fatigue and sleepiness. Lack of proper sleep also makes you irritable in the mornings. It becomes hard to function at work or school, as it is challenging to pay attention to what you are doing. Because you may find yourself falling asleep when you’re supposed to stay awake, you may also be more susceptible to accidents.
People with obstructive sleep apnea experience sudden drops of oxygen levels in their blood. This strains the cardiovascular system and puts you at risk for hypertension. If your condition becomes more severe, you are also more likely to develop coronary artery disease or suffer a heart attack or heart failure.
Aside from your cardiovascular system, the lack of proper sleep and oxygen in the blood also affects your central nervous system. Moderately severe OSA is also linked to stroke incidents.
Research also shows that obstructive sleep apnea is also related to some eye conditions, like glaucoma. Fortunately, eye complications are usually treatable and manageable.
People with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea may also experience problems during a surgical procedure. These complications may include difficulty in intubating, cardiac dysrhythmias, and respiratory depression due to analgesics or anesthetics. Because of these issues, you may also need more time to stay in the hospital.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment in Georgetown, Texas
Early diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea are necessary to improve your symptoms and minimize your risk of further complications. It also promotes a healthy sleeping environment for everyone in your household. Seek immediate medical care if you know you are at risk or if you have symptoms of this sleeping disorder.
Dr. Scott Franklin of Georgetown ENT can help diagnose, treat, and manage your sleeping problems, including obstructive sleep apnea. He is a highly qualified physician with a double board certification in otolaryngology and sleep medicine. Together with our audiologist Abeda Mueed and friendly staff, we aim to provide you with the quality care you deserve.
You may reach our clinic at (512) 869-0604 for your questions and appointments. You can also use this secure appointment request form for your convenience. Let us help you get the deep and restful sleep you deserve!