Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can affect virtually anyone, yet can remain discreet enough that many patients can go years before realizing they have it. It typically describes a chronic obstruction of your airway that occurs when you sleep at night, which can cause you to snore loudly and in a highly distinctive pattern. When left untreated, sleep apnea can also dramatically impact the quality of your sleep, leading to several consequences in your day-to-day life. Today, we take a look at what having sleep apnea means, and how you might be able to tell if it’s become a problem.
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea, or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), means to stop breathing in your sleep, and the obstruction is usually caused by oral and/or throat tissues collapsing into your airway. This can result from a wide variety of factors, making it difficult to pinpoint your risk factors for it if you don’t look for them specifically. When a sleep apnea episode occurs, it causes you to snore increasingly more loudly as the obstruction grows more severe. The snoring then stops as you stop breathing altogether, which forces your body to clear the airway so you can breathe again.
Is it an every-night thing?
The thing about sleep apnea is that it’s a chronic condition, meaning it will continue to occur until you take steps to address it. On the surface, the idea of an occasional airway obstruction might not seem so severe. However, sleep apnea means this occurs repeatedly every night, sometimes reaching hundreds of times in a single night. This can have resounding impacts on your systemic wellbeing, as the persistent obstruction and lack of oxygen can have negative impacts on several areas of your overall physical health.
How would you know if you had it?
One of the biggest problems with sleep apnea and the snoring associated with it is that it can often be mistaken as a simple snoring habit. By yourself, you may not even realize that you snore every night, or that your breathing stops repeatedly each time. However, over time, this can lead to sleep deprivation and symptoms such as daytime fatigue, diminished mental capacities, mood swings, and much more.
Get answers to more questions about sleep apnea
If you have sleep apnea, then it’s important to understand your condition and your options for addressing it. To learn more, call our Cleveland Family Dentistry office in Cleveland, TX, today at (281) 592-1234. We also serve the residents of Kingwood, Conroe, Livingston, and all surrounding communities.