Have you noticed that you’ve been extra tired lately? Has your partner been complaining that you snore? You might think of such things as minor nuisances. However, continual exhaustion and loud snoring are big indicators of sleep apnea in Glastonbury, and this condition is far more than just an annoyance. If it is left undiagnosed and untreated, you could face serious and life-threatening consequences.
What Sleep Apnea Does
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder that causes you to temporarily stop breathing at night when the soft tissues in your oral cavity block your airway. The apneas, or periods of not breathing, may last for a few seconds before you resume breathing with a loud gasp or jerk. The result is that people with sleep apnea find it difficult if not impossible to enjoy a full night of high-quality rest. What’s even worse is that many individuals do not even realize they have this condition.
Undiagnosed and untreated increases your risk of all of the following:
- Glaucoma. Decreased oxygen levels in the eye may cause nerve damage, which can increase the risk of glaucoma.
- Type 2 diabetes. Inadequate rest can increase blood sugar levels and lead to an increase in the hormone that causes hunger, which in turn can make weight management more difficult.
- Cardiovascular disease. Low blood oxygen levels may lead to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
- Liver problems. People with OSA are more likely to develop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Accidents. Sleep plays an essential role in mental alertness and reflexes. If you’re exhausted all the time, your ability to drive safely will be diminished. In fact, sleep apnea more than doubles your risk of being involved in a car accident.
Seek Diagnosis and Treatment
If you’ve been extra tired lately, you snore loudly, and you often wake up with a sore throat or headache, you should visit a medical professional who is qualified to recognize and address sleep apnea. They can arrange for you to undergo a sleep test that will determine whether you have OSA or if your symptoms are related to a different condition. If you do have OSA, treatment is usually simple and may involve a custom oral appliance that gently repositions the oral structures at night to allow for easier breathing. A CPAP machine is also a popular way of addressing OSA.
Don’t let undiagnosed sleep apnea rob you of your health! If you suspect that you are suffering from OSA, seek help from a qualified professional as soon as you can. Treatment will improve your quality of life and may even save your life!
Dr. Keith Hollinger is a dentist and sleep medicine expert who provides treatment for OSA and snoring in Glastonbury. He is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and other prestigious organizations. If you would like to learn how Dr. Hollinger may be able to help you get the high-quality rest you deserve, contact our practice at 860-430-5687.