Sleep apnea is a serious problem that affects almost seven percent of Americans. Millions of sufferers go undiagnosed, and take on additional health and safety risks as a result. If you suffer from fatigue during the day and think sleep apnea may be to blame, see a specialist as soon as possible, as delaying treatment can lead to a host of other problems.
About Sleep Apnea
There are two types of sleep apnea. The most common is obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the soft tissues of the throat collapse during sleep and block the airway. Central sleep apnea is a less common condition which also causes sufferers to cease to breathe during sleep, but it is due to a failure of signals in the brain, not a physical obstruction.
Because sleep apnea reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and organs, over time it can cause deterioration of other bodily functions. Untreated sleep apnea is linked to high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, depression, and other severe physical conditions.
Sleep apnea sufferers usually do not wake up when they cease breathing several times every night, but they often feel fatigued during the day. This fatigue can lead to problems focusing and being productive during the day, and is often responsible for car accidents, as sleepy drivers often have reaction times similar to intoxicated drivers. Partners of sleep apnea sufferers also often struggle to get a good night’s sleep.
Sometimes a test is necessary to diagnose sleep apnea. Once diagnosed, sleep apnea can be at times be treated by simple changes, like a change in sleep position, weight loss, or a reduction of tobacco and alcohol use. More severe treatments often involve devices such as a dental device or a CPAP machine, which pumps air through a mask into the nostrils to keep the airway open. In some cases, surgery is necessary.
If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact an ear, nose, and throat doctor. For a specialist in Everett, Mill Creek and the surrounding communities, contact Everett Ear, Nose & Throat. Call us today at (425) 258-4361.