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Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

Snoring can be a nuisance to your bedmate and maybe even something you joke about, But, if one of you has sleep apnea, it’s not something to take lightly. The snoring and snorting and gasping for breath can be dangerous if not treated. 

Dr. Vandana Kumra of ENT New York is an ear, nose, and throat specialist who treats patients with sleep apnea in New York City at our conveniently located Central Park West office. If you wake up tired every day, it could be from sleep apnea. Learn the signs and how to treat it to protect your long-term health. 

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common condition. When sleeping, the airway becomes blocked or partially blocked by tissue that collapses in the back of the throat. Sometimes, it’s so mild a person doesn’t even know they have it. Other times, breathing stops for a few seconds and the person wakes up snorting or gasping for breath. 

Waking up like this throughout the night isn’t only annoying to your partner; it’s hazardous to your health. You may not be able to focus at work and could fall asleep behind the wheel. It could also lead to serious health problems.

Dangers of sleep apnea

People with sleep apnea have a higher risk of heart disease and death from sudden cardiac arrest. Because your breathing gets interrupted many times each night, you may have a lower level of oxygen in your body known as hypoxia. This creates internal stress that can lead to inflammation, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and stroke. This is why it’s important to find out whether or not you have sleep apnea and get the proper treatment.

There’s also a link between diabetes and sleep apnea. When you wake up through the night, you may have higher blood sugar levels and develop insulin resistance or diabetes. It can also worsen diabetes symptoms.

How is it treated?

A continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine delivers air throughout the night to keep your airway open. The force of the air depends on the severity of your obstructive sleep apnea, and the machine is calibrated to deliver the exact amount you need. Other times, throat surgery may be recommended.

What can you do?

Many people with sleep apnea are overweight or obese, so losing weight will improve your overall health. Quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and lowering your alcohol consumption will also help. We also recommend avoiding sedatives and sleeping pills, and trying a new sleep position to breathe better.

If you think you have sleep apnea, don’t let it go untreated. Make an appointment to see Dr. Kumra by using our convenient online booking tool or by calling 646-859-6136 today.

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