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Treating Sleep Apnea and Why You Should Not Wait
Sleep apnea is a serious condition in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly. Many people with this condition are usually not aware of the short breathing pauses that occur many times a night. You might have sleep apnea if you feel tired even after sleeping the whole night or snore loudly. Most people do not take snoring seriously or feel embarrassed about it. However, loud snoring especially when it is accompanied by daytime fatigue is often a sign of sleep apnea.
The main types of sleep apnea are central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Obstructive sleep apnea is very common. It occurs when a person’s throat muscles relax. If the brain does not send proper signals to the muscles that are responsible for controlling breathing, a person may have central sleep apnea. Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also referred to as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, occurs when a person has both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms and signs of central and obstructive sleep apneas usually overlap. This often makes it hard to determine the type of sleep apnea a person has. Some common signs and symptoms of sleep apneas include loud snoring and episodes in which a person stops breathing during sleep. Other symptoms include insomnia, hypersomnia, irritability, difficulty paying attention when a person is awake, morning headache, gasping for air when a person is sleeping and waking up with a dry mouth. People with sleep apnea should see a doctor.
Consequences of not seeking treatment
Sleep apnea can take a toll on a person’s emotional and physical health. Chronic sleep deprivation that is caused by sleep apnea can result in a number of problems including poor concentration, daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes and an increased risk of accidents. Untreated sleep apnea can cause irritability, moodiness and even lead to depression. Sometimes, it can lead to other serious physical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and liver problems. With the right self-help strategies and treatment, a person can control the snoring and symptoms. After treatment, a person will start sleeping well and feel alert and refreshed during the day.
When to see a doctor
People with the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea can benefit from seeing a doctor. Loud snoring can be an indicator of a potentially serious problem but not everyone who has the condition snores. A doctor should be asked about any sleep problem that leaves a person sleepy, fatigued and irritable. Treatment can help ease the symptoms and prevent heart problems together with other complications.
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, visit your doctor. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to several serious complications like depression and heart disease. It can also leave you feeling drowsy, which increases the risk of accidents while working or driving. Treatment can help prevent these consequences and other serious problems associated with it. Get in touch with your doctor or dentist if you want to find out more about sleep apnea.
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