It is estimated that 38 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that causes you to stop breathing for stretches of ten seconds or longer, multiple times an hour. If you have sleep apnea, it could be adversely affecting your health in many different ways.
At the offices of Dr. Terry Baker, an otolaryngologist in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Dr. Baker and our team of ENT professionals can help design a treatment plan for your sleep apnea that can significantly improve your health and your quality of life.
Sleep apnea basics
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, or OSAS, occurs when the airway closes off during sleep. This is usually caused by the soft tissues of the throat and the muscles that control the tongue relaxing, allowing the airway to be shut off.
When the brain realizes you aren’t breathing properly, an automatic startle response will cause your muscles to contract, allowing a breath to be taken, which usually sounds like a loud snore, snort, gasp, or choking noise. You will typically be jerked up out of deep sleep, but not fully awakened.
Most people don’t realize they have sleep apnea until a bed partner brings it up. If you live alone, the only symptoms you might be having are daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and drowsiness while driving. The sleep deficit builds up, and your entire body can be affected.
Benefits of managing sleep apnea
Left unmanaged, sleep apnea can significantly increase your risk for or severity of various diseases and conditions. It can also affect your personal and professional life adversely. However, when treated appropriately, you can reap the benefits of uninterrupted sleep.
Feel more rested
Daytime sleepiness is one of the first signs of sleep apnea issues. With treatment, you can wake up feeling truly rested and refreshed.
Drive more safely
Driving drowsiness is another earmark of sleep apnea. You’ll be safer on the road once your sleep apnea is managed properly.
Reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke
Managing sleep apnea in tandem with treating cardiovascular symptoms can reduce your risk of a serious life-threatening event.
Decrease the dangers of diabetes
Sleep apnea raises your risk of gestational or Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Managing your sleep apnea can help improve your metabolism.
It can be hard to sleep beside someone who is constantly gasping and jerking in their sleep. By managing your sleep apnea, you can help your bed partner also get a good night’s sleep.
Dr. Baker can help you define your level of sleep apnea, and find a solution that is right for you. If you are ready to get a good night’s sleep, contact our office at 208-552-9530 for an appointment.