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The Real Dangers of Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes.

They may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.”

Sleep apnea is usually a chronic condition that disrupts your sleep and is difficult to diagnose. Most agree that it can be a pretty bad affliction to suffer from, with effects ranging from extended sleepiness to increased blood pressure.

How Sleep Apnea Hurts You

Spanish researchers followed a group of 1,500 sufferers, who had been referred to a hospital sleep clinic, with yearly checkups: “After 10 years, the researchers tallied up how many of the men had suffered a heart attack or stroke, needed a procedure to bypass or open a clogged heart artery, or died from cardiovascular disease. About 1 in 7 men (14%) fell into this camp.”

Further, WebMd declares that: “People with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to suffer heart attacks and die in the middle of the night. The causes may be low oxygen or the stress of waking up often during sleep. Stroke and atrial fibrillation – a problem with the rhythm of the heartbeat — are also associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

The disrupted oxygen flow caused by sleep apnea makes it hard for your brain to regulate the flow of blood in arteries and the brain itself.” Other health issues sleep apnea can cause include diabetes, weight gain and possibly adult asthma.

The most common issues reported were cardiovascular troubles, an estimated “three times more likely in men with severe untreated sleep apnea than it was in men with treated sleep apnea. In fact, rates of heart trouble were about the same in men with treated apnea as they were among simple snorers — who have noisy but regular breathing during sleep — and nonsnorers.” The results appeared in the March 19, 2005, Lancet.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

The usual, and most common sleep apnea treatment, is “CPAP, which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, consists of a machine with a mask attached by a hose. Other PAP machines include the BPAP, which has two levels of air flow for breathing in and out.” Surgery may also be an option. The Mayo Clinic has a list of methods you can use to reduce the effects, including sleeping on your side, avoiding alcohol and sedatives medications.

If you suspect you or a loved one have sleep apnea, make an appointment today.

Get the Help You Need

Sleep apnea is diagnosed through a physical examination with particular emphasis on weight, blood pressure and airway constriction in the nose, throat and lungs. At the Houston Sinus & Allergy, we have helped helped thousands of people with sleep apnea conditions and we can help you, too. With state-of-the-art equipment and the latest treatments, snoring and sleep apnea can usually be treated in the office, with minimal pain or recovery.

If you live in the Houston area and you suffer from debilitating snoring or think you may have sleep apnea, we can help.  Contact us or fill out our assessment form at the right, and start sleeping better!