It's Not Just Snoring: The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Snoring might be more than something that’s bugging your bed partner. You could have obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea and impacts approximately 29.4 million Americans annually.

At Jacinto Medical Group in La Porte Baytown, TX, our team of specialists can help confirm a sleep apnea diagnosis and find solutions to safeguard your health. A good night’s sleep can do wonders!

What happens during a sleep apnea episode 

There are three kinds of apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and mixed sleep apnea. The first is a muscle issue, the second is a brain issue, and the third is a combination of the two types. 

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles around your tongue, soft palate, and throat become too relaxed. The tongue falls back and touches the back of the soft palate, closing off your airway.

Don't worry, you don't choke on your tongue. When your brain goes without oxygen a second or two longer than accustomed to, an automatic startle reflex kicks in

You usually don't wake up. You snore suddenly and you make a snorting or gasping sound. An OSA episode can cause your breathing to start and stop up to 30 times per hour, all throughout the night.  

Central sleep apnea can be very concerning because your brain doesn’t send signals reliably to tell your body to breath. Mixed apnea means there’s both muscle and brain involvement.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea can have a negative impact on your daily life. Do you have morning headaches, hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness), dry mouth, irritability, or difficulty paying attention? You could have sleep apnea. You also want to pay attention to what your partner says. If they say you constantly snore or gasp without waking up, that could mean you have sleep apnea.

Dangers of sleep apnea

Left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your risk of serious medical conditions. Each time you stop breathing, your blood pressure fluctuates, increasing your risk of hypertension. Sleep apnea can also lead to cardiovascular issues, increasing your risk of heart attack, abnormal heartbeats, and stroke. If you already have an underlying heart condition, apnea can even lead to sudden death.   

Sleep apnea treatment

If you have sleep apnea, the team at Jacinto Medical Group can help. 

Your specialist might recommend an oral device to keep your jaw positioned to prevent your tongue from falling backward. For more severe cases, we can prescribe a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device that sends air pressure through a mask while you sleep. 

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, you can make an appointment to have a sleep evaluation done at our clinic.

We'll find out if sleep apnea is impacting you. Contact us today and finally get back on the path to better sleep! 

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