If your partner or roommate has been complaining that you snore during the night, it could be a lot more dangerous than you think! Snoring is often connected to sleep apnea, a severe disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and restarts during the night. The condition often goes undetected, but if it’s not treated, you could be at a higher risk for a heart attack or another potentially deadly complication. Learn more about why sleep apnea in Prince Albert should be treated immediately.
What Happens During Sleep Apnea?
There are two kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). OSA happens when there’s something physically blocking the airway, usually relaxed throat muscles. It’s by far the most common form of sleep apnea and is often the result of obesity. CSA, on the other hand, is when the brain fails to send a signal to the muscles that control breathing. On rare occasions, CSA and OSA occur at the same time, which is called complex sleep apnea syndrome.
No matter the cause, sleep apnea causes oxygen levels in the blood to go down, forcing the brain to wake you up briefly so breathing can resume normally. This can happen multiple times a night, although the awakenings might be so brief that you won’t even remember them.
Why Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Decreased oxygen levels put a lot of stress on the body. The heart beats faster and the arteries narrow, leading to higher blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues. A 2007 study by the Yale School of Medicine found that these issues can increase your risk of experiencing death or a heart attack by 30% in a 5-year period. Many other researchers have made similar findings. In short, if you have sleep apnea, your life could be in serious danger sooner or later.
How Will You Know If You Have Sleep Apnea?
Snoring, pauses in breathing, snorting or gasping during the night can all be signs of sleep apnea, but unfortunately these symptoms are almost impossible to notice if you live on your own. Other warning signs could include:
- Constantly sore throat or coughing
- Headaches when you wake up
- Being excessively tired during the day
- Irritability, depression and mood changes
- Memory problems
If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, it’s best to seek treatment sooner rather than later; once the diagnosis is confirmed in a sleep study, therapy can begin. A dentist in Prince Albert can usually help OSA with an oral appliance; CSA can sometimes be addressed with a CPAP machine, but other treatments are often necessary. Do what it takes to get the help you need; the sooner you take care of your sleep apnea, the sooner you can get a restful – and healthy – night’s sleep.
About the Author
Dr. Jerry Janzen became a dentist so that he could have a career where he never stops learning, and as such he makes it a point to keep up with the constant advancements in dental techniques and technology. He can offer an oral appliance therapy for patients suffering from life-threatening sleep apnea. To schedule an appointment at his practice, visit his website or call (306) 763-7841.