Posts for: April, 2016
Sleep apnea doesn't just affect the quality of your sleep. It can also cause a variety of health problems, ranging from headaches to high blood pressure. Dr. Andrew Parker, your Norwalk, New Canaan and Westport, CT ear, nose and throat doctor, describes the signs that could indicate that you have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea starts with snoring
Snoring is often an indication that you have sleep apnea, but everyone who snores doesn't have the disorder. Ninety million American adults snore, but only 1/2 of people who snore loudly have sleep apnea, according to theNational Sleep Foundation. Since you're asleep when snoring occurs, you may not even be aware that you have a problem, but chances are, other people have mentioned it.
Other signs of sleep apnea
If you have sleep apnea, you may have a variety of symptoms, including:
- Choking: Have you even woken up suddenly and felt as if you were choking or gasping for air? These symptoms occur when your throat closes down and prevents air from reaching your lungs. When you sleep, your throat muscles and tongue relax, narrowing your airway. Occasionally, your airway walls may collapse completely, which triggers choking or gasping for air.
- Breathing Pauses: If you sleep with someone else, they may have mentioned that your breathing seems to stop for a few seconds from time to time. When you experience choking or breathing pauses, your brain is temporarily deprived of oxygen. Over time, oxygen deprivation can cause several serious health problems.
- Dry Mouth: After a busy night of snoring, your mouth will be dry, and your throat may be sore.
- Headaches: Sleep apnea affects the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your bloodstream, which can cause morning headaches. These headaches usually go away within an hour after you wake up.
- Sleepiness: Not surprisingly, you may have difficulty staying awake during the day if you have sleep apnea.
- Mood And Concentration Problems: When you don't get a good night's sleep, your memory and ability to concentrate suffers. You may also feel irritable, moody or depressed.
Who is more likely to develop sleep apnea?
Your Norwalk, New Canaan and Westport ENT can let you know, you might be at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea if you have any of these risk factors:
- A family history of sleep apnea
- High blood pressure
- Large neck size
- Over 40 (male) or 50 (women)
Concerned that you may have sleep apnea? Dr. Andrew Parker, your Norwalk, New Canaan and Westport, CT ear, nose and throat doctor, can help. Call him at (203) 866-8121 to schedule an appointment. Don't let a sleep disorder affect your health.
Snoring is often the butt of jokes, but this common sleep problem isn't a laughing matter. Snoring can actually be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious condition that can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes if untreated. Your New Canaan ear, nose and throat doctor, Dr. Andrew Parker, is here to explain why snoring can be so dangerous.
What happens if I have sleep apnea?
Your entire body relaxes when you sleep, including your throat. As your throat muscles relax, your airway becomes narrower and your tongue falls back toward your throat. Snoring occurs when your throat walls vibrate when you breathe. In some cases, your throat walls completely collapse while you sleep. When this happens, you stop breathing for a few seconds.
This cessation of breathing can happen many times throughout the night. Each time it does, your brain and body don't receive needed oxygen. Over time, lack of oxygen can not only cause high blood pressure and heart disease, but can also increase your risk of developing depression, pre-diabetes and diabetes.
How do I know that I have sleep apnea?
You won't know for sure that you have sleep apnea until you visit an ear, nose and throat doctor, but there are a few signs that can indicate that you may have the condition, including:
- Loud snoring
- Jerking awake during the night
- Gasping for breath or choking while your sleep
- Pauses in your breathing at night (Someone else may notice that you do this.)
- Feeling tired during the day
- Gaining weight
- Irritability or depression
- Waking up with a headache
- Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
How can my doctor help?
If your doctor suspects that you have sleep apnea, he will recommend a sleep study in a lab or a home sleep apnea test. These test measures how often you stop breathing during the night. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend that you use an oral appliance to prevent your airway from collapsing while you sleep or may suggest that you try a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. CPAP users wear a special mask that keeps their throats open with a constant stream of air. In some cases, surgery can be helpful although other treatments are usually tried first.
Concerned that you may have sleep apnea? Make an appointment with your New Canaan ear, nose and throat doctor, Dr. Andrew Parker, by calling (203) 866-8121. Don't let your snoring put your health at risk!