The powerful impact sleep can have on your body, health, and quality of life is well-known. However, sleeping disorders aren’t always considered as serious and potentially dangerous as they actually are. Moreover, sleep disorders often go undiagnosed. After all, you’re not awake when the symptoms occur. This is often the case with sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes lapses in breathing while sleeping. The most common type of this disorder is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In obstructive sleep apnea, the interruptions in breathing are caused by the collapse and blockage of an airway. A much rarer type is called central sleep apnea, where repeated breaks in breathing are due to an issue with signals in the brain. There is also mixed sleep apnea, which involves a combination of the obstructive and central forms of the disorder.
What Are The Signs?
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with approximately 80% of sleep apnea cases going undiagnosed. When considering the specifics of this disorder, it’s easy to understand why. With sleep apnea, a lack of oxygen causes the brain to respond by briefly waking you up. This arousal is often accompanied by a gasp or a grunt, as a way of restoring a normal breathing pattern. But what can also result is disrupted, fragmented sleep that makes you feel drowsy or fatigued throughout the day. If a loved one or partner does not notice these awakenings, you may contribute these symptoms to something else, such as being overworked. Loud snoring, which is a common sign of OSA, can also be overlooked if no one is around to notice it. Other possible indicators of sleep apnea include:
-Consistently waking up in the night to urinate
-Shortness of breath
-Irritability and mood changes
-A sore throat or dry mouth upon waking
-Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
Why is Sleep Apnea Considered a Serious Condition?
This disorder has the potential to affect the quality of your daily life and increase the risk of accidents, especially in a vehicle. You may find yourself struggling with various tasks at home or at work due to the fatigue and inability to focus. In addition, sleep apnea can also negatively impact the state of your health. Without treatment, this sleeping disorder can increase the risk of complications such as:
-High blood pressure
Seeking Treatment For Sleep Apnea
If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from sleep apnea, please contact one of Dr. Shukla’s New York offices for an appointment. Dr. Shukla considers it a privilege to use his extensive experience as a skilled pulmonologist and sleep doctor to help others breathe better, sleep better, and feel better throughout their lives.