The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

It’s essential that we get a good night’s rest for good health. Many of us, however, feel exhausted and unmotivated in the morning. We just can’t wake up feeling refreshed like we ought to and don’t know why. Maybe you wake many times to use the restroom or perhaps you snore so loudly you wake yourself up. Those are both signs of sleep apnea. According to the American Association for Respiratory Care, sleep apnea affects more than 18 million people in the US alone. It is a chronic condition that requires management over a long period of time.


Sleep Apnea causes episodes of pauses in your breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. These pauses can be quick or can last for minutes. This ongoing condition disrupts your sleep, moving you from deep sleep into light sleep, which makes your quality of sleep poor and causes tiredness throughout the day.


Untreated, sleep apnea increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity and diabetes or worse, the risk of heart failure. It is a condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated early, especially since many people do not even know that they have it. Common signs and symptoms include :

  • Loud snoring and periods where your breathing stops during sleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep or awaking suddenly with shortness of breath
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Headaches in the morning and irritability throughout the day
  • Sleepiness during the day and problems with concentration


You can go a long way in preventing sleep apnea if you monitor your health closely, regularly discuss your health with a doctor and get annual health check-ups .


Some Factors Increase Your Risk

People who are obese are four times more likely to have sleep apnea than people of normal weight. Smokers are three times more likely than nonsmokers to have sleep apnea.


Unfortunately, there are some risk factors for sleep apnea beyond your control. Being male doubles the possibility of having a sleeping disorder while women whom have passed menopause are more likely to suffer from the condition. Your family history is a factor and having family members with sleep apnea raises the threat for you. So, how can you know when it is necessary to see a doctor?

  • You are snoring loud enough to wake yourself or others
  • You experience shortness of breath or gasping for air that awakens you
  • You have pauses in your breathing during sleep
  • You suffer from extreme daytime drowsiness which may cause you to fall asleep during normal activities


Experiencing more than one of the above symptoms means that you should seek medical advice.


Managing Sleep Apnea

One of the most common ways to manage sleep apnea is through a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Device (CPAP). CPAP is a device that painlessly delivers pressurized air into the throat during sleep. This ensures that you are getting enough oxygen. Another option is an oral appliance which is designed to open your throat by bringing your jaw forward. The final option is surgery to enlarge the airway through your nose or throat.


If you believe that you may have sleep apnea, then it is time to seek professional care. The Sleep Lab at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok is a comprehensive facility that can diagnose and treat sleep disorders often involving a diagnostic sleep study . The clinic is staffed by medical experts from many fields including Pulmonary Medicine (lungs), Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose & Throat), Neurology (nervous system) and Psychiatry.


You deserve a good night’s sleep so that you can awake feeling refreshed and rested. Don’t delay in calling to schedule your appointment today at +66 (0) 2011 6910, Monday through Sunday.

 

More on diagnostic sleep studies:

If you would like to learn more about what to expect from a diagnostic sleep study, read our article on how the sleep experts can help you. [see more]
 

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Posted by Bumrungrad International