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These days it’s hard to get away from the constant worry of undetected diseases waiting to strike and so the last thing on your mind is the possibility of having a sleep breathing disorder.
Sleep is often your only escape from stress but the fact is there are many people who don’t realize the reason they’re feeling terrible is right under their nose, or more appropriately – their pillow.
It’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that sleep might be the reason your health is declining or that you’ve got no energy. Sleep is supposed to recharge your batteries so wouldn’t you know if there was something going on?
Not exactly. You see, there are a number of conditions that are categorized as sleep-disordered breathing and none happen consciously. You do actually wake up, it just happens to be for a second or two and so you don’t register it.
SDBs include obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, nocturnal hypoventilation and cheyne-stokes respiration. That’s a lot to take in but the most common one is obstructive sleep apnea. It’s so prevalent that 42 million Americans are estimated to have it. That’s about the population of Ukraine!
Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA is a common problem that poses huge risks to your health. In short, what happens is that when you finally drift off into blissful sleep, your muscles loosen up. This happens all over, including your throat.
The suddenly reduced airflow makes your brain think you’re suffocating and so you’re jolted awake. Muscles tense up widening your throat and you can breathe again. This process can repeat itself over 30 times an hour!
As you can imagine, your body doesn’t like stop and go traffic when it’s supposed to be smooth sailing. It’s so disruptive that your chances of getting hypertension, stroke and diabetes skyrocket. Luckily there isn’t only a way to find out if you have sleep apnea, there’s ways to fix it!
Finding out what’s going on means watching you sleep, but not in the creepy way. A sleep study, done at home or in a clinic can pinpoint how severe your condition is, even grading you on something called the Apnea/Hypopnea Index or API. Once a specialist like an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor has figured that out, you can start thinking about relief.
There are quite a few ways you can go about getting it including:
The important thing is to get looked at to begin with. As mentioned before, an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor can easily figure out if your sleep is negatively affecting your health.
Whether you’re more tired than usual or suddenly sicker than normal, getting an exam to check if you have a sleep breathing disorder is worth it for the peace of mind.
At Houston Sinus & Allergy, we assess patients for the severity of their condition, and determine a treatment. Book an assessment with our experienced ENT, Dr. Nguyen, and start feeling better.