The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Has your partner left for the bedroom down the hall due to your constant snoring at night? You could have obstructive sleep apnea, which affects about 30 million Americans every year. This condition may not only make you a bad bedmate, but it can seriously impact your health.

ENT of New Orleans, with locations in Marrero and New Orleans East, Louisiana, offers sleep apnea diagnostics and solutions. In this blog, our experienced health specialists discuss what sleep apnea is, what causes it, and how it can be treated.

Sleep apnea 101 

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. With this condition, the tissues at the back of your throat relax too much and cut off your airway.

Fortunately, your body has an automatic startle reflex built in just in case you accidentally stop breathing. When your brain goes without oxygen for even a second or two longer than usual, this response kicks in. 

Typically, you’ll jerk a little, your muscles will tighten up, and your airway will open up to let air rush in. This fast inhale can sound just like a snore, a snort, or a gasp. In most instances, you’ll never fully wake up. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you may stop and start breathing as often as 30 times an hour all night long.

There are two other kinds of sleep apnea, but they are less common. One of them is called central sleep apnea, which occurs because your brain temporarily doesn’t send signals for your body to breathe. The other kind is called mixed sleep apnea, which is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Dangers of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea can negatively impact your life. Symptoms of sleep apnea can include the following:

If you have sleep apnea but remain undiagnosed or untreated, you can increase your risk of developing several serious medical conditions, such as the following:

Sleep apnea can also increase your chances of suffering a stroke.   

Treating sleep apnea

If you have sleep apnea, our specialists can help. We can run diagnostics to confirm if you have obstructive sleep apnea or another type of sleep apnea, and we can recommend treatments to help reduce your symptoms. Common treatments for obstructive sleep apnea include the following:

If you think you may have sleep apnea, book an appointment online or over the phone with ENT of New Orleans today.

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