It's Not Just Snoring: Why You Shouldn't Ignore Sleep Apnea

Is your snoring keeping your spouse up at night? Before you look into getting separate beds or rooms, you should seek an evaluation for sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder affecting about 18 million Americans. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive. If left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious health consequences. 

At ENT New York, Dr. Vandana Kumra can help determine if you suffer from sleep apnea. If so, she’ll provide the appropriate treatment options for your needs. Here’s a more detailed look at sleep apnea, including its symptoms, risk factors, and treatments.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that briefly interrupts your breathing while you sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs because the muscles in the throat fail to keep your airways open, which can stop your breathing for 10 seconds or more. 

This airway blockage might cause you to awaken up to 30 times a night. Other times, you simply gasp, but don’t wake up. Either way, your body becomes deprived of necessary oxygen. 

Symptoms of sleep apnea

Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, but there are others, such as:

If your spouse, neighbor, or roommate is complaining about your snoring, and you’ve been irritable and forgetful, you should seek an evaluation for sleep apnea with Dr. Vandana Kumra. 

Why you shouldn’t ignore it

If keeping your spouse awake is not enough reason to seek treatment, consider this: If your sleep apnea goes untreated, then you may experience excessive sleepiness during the day, which can make it dangerous to operate machinery or drive. Additionally, the lack of oxygen and sleepless nights can lead to hypertension, heart disease, mood swings, and memory problems.

Also, chronic sleep apnea may increase your risk of asthma, certain cancers, metabolic disorders, and chronic kidney disease. 

Sleep apnea treatments

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to treat sleep apnea. For starters, certain lifestyle factors put you at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea, such as being overweight, smoking, and drinking too much alcohol. Quitting smoking, losing weight, and drinking alcohol in moderation may help reduce your sleep apnea symptoms. 

If lifestyle changes don’t reduce symptoms enough, or at all, then a continuous positive airway pressure device (also known as CPAP) is an effective treatment. It uses a mask to deliver a constant stream of air through your mouth and nose while you sleep to help prevent your airway from closing. Or, Dr. Kumra may recommend sinus or throat surgery as a more effective treatment option in certain cases.

For an evaluation and possible treatment for sleep apnea, call ENT Network for an appointment with Vandana Kumra, MD. You can also book your appointment here on our website. 

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