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

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

Have you been told that your snoring sounds like a locomotive? Does your partner have to sleep in another room because the noise keeps them awake?

Although snoring can have other causes, it’s often a symptom of sleep apnea. If you have undiagnosed sleep apnea, it can lead to other health complications. 

Dr. Nilesh Patel, ear, nose, and throat specialist and otolaryngologist, is the medical expert to see if you snore heavily. Your snoring could come from ENT issues such as post-nasal drip or sinus problems, which he can diagnose and treat right away. It could also be a result of sleep apnea.

Why is it important to diagnose and treat sleep apnea?

If you have sleep apnea but don’t know it and/or aren’t being treated for it, you’re at risk for other health problems. Here are some of the major health conditions that sleep apnea can trigger or worsen. 

High blood pressure

Sleep apnea causes you to wake frequently at night. You’re not getting good quality sleep and your body is stressed, raising your blood pressure. 

If you already have high blood pressure, you may be on medication. If you do have sleep apnea and receive treatment, you may be able to reduce the amount of medication. 

Heart disease and stroke 

You have a hard time catching your breath during the night when you have sleep apnea.  You’re waking up sometimes a hundred times a night to try to get enough air because you’re not getting enough life-giving oxygen to your brain and body. You’re more at risk for a stroke, atrial fibrillation, heart attack, or heart failure. 

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is associated with sleep apnea. If you have this health condition, you have a minimum of three of the following issues:

If you’ve been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you’re at more risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. 

Obesity 

Have you ever noticed that when you don’t get enough sleep at night, you tend to be hungrier during the day? If you have undiagnosed sleep apnea, your body is producing more ghrelin than it otherwise would. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates your desire for carbohydrates and sweets.

If you’re already overweight, your weight could move into the obese range. Obesity places you at greatly increased risk for diabetes and other serious health issues. If you’re obese, the fat around your neck can impair your breathing, contributing to your sleep apnea. 

Daytime sleepiness, raising risk for accidents

Is it difficult for you to remain awake during the day? Do you barely get through meetings without closing your eyes? Feeling fatigued all day can make you irritable and actually lead to depression. It can also raise your risk for an accident such as a fall or a crash while driving a car or truck. 

Treatment for sleep apnea

Dr. Patel can tell you if your snoring is the result of sinus problems or other ear, nose, and throat issues, and he provides prompt treatment to resolve those issues. If there’s a good chance that you may have sleep apnea, Dr. Patel recommends that you undergo a sleep study. If you do have sleep apnea, you’ll likely be treated with a special continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or similar machine. 

You’ll also be strongly encouraged to lose weight if you’re obese. Losing weight helps relieve sleep apnea symptoms. In fact, losing just 10-15% of your weight can reduce symptoms by as much as 50%. 

Call Dr. Nilesh Patel today for an appointment at one of our two convenient Midtown locations if you suspect you have sleep apnea and for all of your ear, nose, and throat concerns. 

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