The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is among the most common sleep disorders in the United States. It can also be the most dangerous, wreaking havoc on your health and well-being. In fact, if it goes untreated, sleep apnea can threaten your life. 

Dr. Javier Sosa and our expert team at Woodlands Primary Healthcare, located in The Woodlands, Texas, provide primary and weight loss care to help you manage chronic conditions and lower your risk for significant complications.

Here, we explore more about sleep apnea, including signs, related risks, and ways we can help.

Sleep apnea 101

When you have sleep apnea, your breath becomes abnormal during sleep. Sleep apnea causes multiple extended breathing lapses, leading to poor sleep quality and reduced oxygen supply. 

The three types of sleep apnea include:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which involves blockage at the back of your throat
  • Central sleep apnea (CSA), which stems from poor breathing muscle control
  • Mixed sleep apnea, when you have both types 

The most common cause of OSA is carrying excess weight, which can cause tissue to block your airway and interrupt sleep. Having a narrow throat, thyroid disease, allergies, or smoking may also contribute.

Regardless of the type of sleep apnea, symptoms may include:

  • Disrupted or labored breathing
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Intense daytime sleepiness 
  • Irritated moods
  • Loud or gasping snoring
  • Morning headaches
  • Morning dry mouth or sore throat
  • Reduced attention span

Dangers of sleep apnea

Poor quality sleep and decreased oxygen levels from sleep apnea can cause significant health problems if you ignore them. 

In addition to bothersome issues like low moods and grogginess, sleep apnea can lead to increased weight gain as your appetite increases and energy for exercise depletes. Sleep apnea is also linked with other significant medical conditions, such as:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Thyroid disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Sudden cardiac arrest

You may also run a higher risk of issues. like car accidents, falls, and injuries, if you’re perpetually sleepy or distracted because of sleep apnea.

Preventing sleep apnea complications

Getting a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is essential for protecting your health once you have sleep apnea. If you experience weight challenges, your provider at Woodlands Primary Healthcare may recommend a medically-guided weight loss program. Losing 10-15% of your weight may reduce the severity of OSA by 50%.

Other treatments may include using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device or another oral appliance while you sleep or during surgery.

To learn more about sleep apnea or get the wellness or weight loss support you need, call Woodlands Primary Healthcare, located in The Woodlands, Texas, or request an appointment with Dr. Sosa on our website today. 

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