How Serious Is Sleep Apnea?
In a nutshell – very.
Sleep apnea is a chronic health condition that can impact your life in a number of profound ways. Apnea literally means “without breath.” This condition causes you to stop breathing while you sleep.
If you show any of the signs of sleep apnea, a Milwaukee sleep specialist can diagnose your condition.
The Signs of Sleep Apnea
The most common signs associated with sleep apnea include frequent, loud, arrhythmic snoring, pauses in breathing, and gasping. But unless you have a partner who has observed these signs, you may not be aware of them.
Other signs to watch out for include:
- A feeling of exhaustion even if you have just woken up
- Daytime fatigue
- Dozing off during the day
- A headache upon awakening
- Problems concentrating
- Mood swings
- A frequent sore throat
Who Is Likely to Develop Sleep Apnea?
Just about anyone can develop sleep apnea, but some risk factors do make the condition more likely:
- Being overweight or obese
- Being male
- Being over the age of 40
- A family history of the condition
- High blood pressure
What Are the Long-Term Consequences of Sleep Apnea?
Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health challenges, including:
- Arrhythmias or heart attacks
- Weight gain
Beyond these physical effects, a person with sleep apnea can suffer the long-term consequences of sleep deprivation. They are at a greater risk for motor vehicle and other types of accidents. Because concentration and memory are affected, your career may be in jeopardy. Additionally, personal relationships are likely to suffer, especially since partners may choose to sleep in another room to escape the loud snoring that is associated with sleep apnea. Mood swings and depression will drastically affect quality of life.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Seeking sleep apnea treatment is crucial. The first step is diagnosis. Your primary care provider can refer you to a sleep specialist in the Milwaukee area who can provide testing to determine whether sleep apnea is behind your symptoms.
Once diagnosed, you’ll have options for treatment. Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is an effective and discreet treatment option for mild to moderate sleep apnea. Call our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Monteagudo and see if this treatment is appropriate for you.