Skip to main content

Complications That Can Occur Because of Sleep Apnea

Complications That Can Occur Because of Sleep Apnea

Has anyone ever told you that you snore loudly? Do you have difficulty concentrating, or do you feel groggy and poorly rested? These are just a few signs of sleep apnea, a disorder that describes pauses in breathing while you sleep. 

At ENT New York, Dr. Vandana Kumra has extensive experience diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. Here, she shares her insights into sleep apnea and why you shouldn’t ignore this serious condition.

Sleep apnea basics

While everyone is different, most adults need between 7-9 hours of quality sleep each day. Unfortunately, growing numbers of Americans aren’t reaching these numbers for a variety of reasons, including sleep apnea.

There are different forms of sleep apnea, but obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is most common. When you have OSA, something physically blocks your upper airway — often soft tissue that drops into the back of your throat while you sleep. The result? You stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer.

Sleep apnea can vary in severity. For example, some people only stop breathing 5-15 times during each hour of sleep. However, in severe cases, people can have more than 30 episodes in one hour.

Even mild cases of sleep apnea can put your health at risk because your body needs oxygen to function. 

The risks of sleep apnea

When you don’t get enough oxygen, it puts added strain on your whole health. Over time, the lack of oxygen can take a toll on your body, especially your heart, putting you at risk for:

Sleep apnea can also exacerbate respiratory problems, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Plus, it interferes with your endocrine and digestive systems, increasing your chances of developing fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes.

Unfortunately, this long-term stress on your body can also put you at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

Avoiding sleep apnea complications

An estimated 12 million Americans live with sleep apnea, but many haven’t received a diagnosis. The key to avoiding the dangers of this disorder lies in early detection and treatment.

Dr. Kumra recommends scheduling an appointment if you notice symptoms that include:

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, Dr. Kumra can look for signs of sleep apnea by evaluating your head and neck and performing an upper endoscopy. During this procedure, she assesses the inside of your neck and throat for physical issues that cause apneas.

Based on your evaluation, Dr. Kumra could also recommend sleep studies to gather more detailed information on the severity of your condition.

In most cases, Dr. Kumra can treat OSA with a continuous positive airway pressure — or CPAP — machine. These devices deliver a constant stream of oxygen into your nose and mouth while you sleep, which keeps your airway open. However, sinus or throat surgery can provide better results in some cases.

Do you have sleep apnea? Don’t put your health at risk. Contact our office in New York City by calling 646-859-6136 or booking an appointment online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Is My Thyroid Gland Causing My Neck Mass?

Is My Thyroid Gland Causing My Neck Mass?

Lumps or masses on the neck can come in many shapes and sizes. In most cases, they’re noncancerous. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. See what’s behind neck masses and when your thyroid could be to blame.
What Can Cause Polyps on My Vocal Cords?

What Can Cause Polyps on My Vocal Cords?

Has your voice become hoarse or raspy? Do you feel pain when speaking? These are just a few signs of vocal polyps. If you’ve been having problems with your voice, here’s what you should know about this throat problem.
What Happens After a Hearing Evaluation

What Happens After a Hearing Evaluation

Changes in your hearing can be disconcerting. However, a hearing evaluation can identify what’s behind your symptoms. These painless exams are the first step to finding options to improve or manage your hearing problems.
What to Expect from an Allergy Consultation

What to Expect from an Allergy Consultation

Frustrating sinus congestion? Poor sense of smell? A skilled ENT can help you get to the bottom of your sinus issues and tell you if allergies are to blame. Here’s what you can expect from an allergy consultation.