You may have heard of sleep apnea as a reason you or someone in your household snores. This is the most common symptom attributed to sleep apnea. However, sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that can lead to heart attack, stroke, or death. This is because sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing while you are asleep. In extreme cases, your breathing may stop hundreds of times a night. Imagine the toll these disruptions in breathing have on your sleep.
If you believe you may have sleep apnea and are in the Portland or Scarborough area, please contact our sleep apnea specialists for an initial consultation.
It is estimated that 12 million people in the US have some form of sleep apnea. Many experienced between 20 and 30 stoppages in breathing a night. This cessation is due to your tongue or the soft tissue at the back of your throat relaxing and collapsing on your airway. Your air way may narrow or actually close. As a result, oxygen flow is reduced. When you quit breathing, you wake up. This may happen without you consciously realizing it since it may only occur for a few seconds at a time. However, the lack of oxygen to your bloodstream is more dangerous as it can affect you in the long term and hurt your overall health.
Snoring is a common symptom, but there are others to pay attention to. Symptoms include:
• Daytime or chronic fatigue
• Problems with memory or concentration
• Cotton mouth
• Depression or other mood changes
Many of these symptoms sound like symptoms you would have because you didn't get enough sleep. This is because you wake before your body gets into the proper sleep cycle due to oxygen deprivation. As a result, sleep apnea can cause:
• High blood pressure
• Weight gain
• Heart arrhythmia
• Heart attack
Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, we may treat it in different ways. Some of these include lifestyle changes. If you smoke, drink alcohol to excess, or are overweight, then changing these things can help reduce or even eliminate your sleep apnea. If your case is more severe, we may prescribe another treatment. Extreme cases of sleep apnea may require surgery.
If you would like to learn more about snoring and sleep apnea or believe you may have sleep apnea, please contact us for an initial consultation.