It’s estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea. That’s a hard number to get a fully accurate estimate of, however, because about 80 percent of those people don’t get treatment.
Sleep apnea is a scary thing that most people think is the problem of “other people.” That’s right — most people don’t know they suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (the most common form). All they know is that they snore loudly and seem tired all day long, even after having what they thought was a good night’s sleep.
Dr. Volpi and our team at eos Sleep are experts in sleep apnea. So, how long before you give us a call to begin getting a good night’s sleep for you and your partner? In this almost springy March blog, let’s get into what you can look for with sleep apnea, along with why you need to take the condition very seriously.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea really has two sets of symptoms — those that occur while the disruption is happening at night and those that occur because of the disrupted sleep, usually the next day.
These symptoms are common with sleep apnea:
- Awakening with shortness of breath
- Episodes of breathing cessation witnessed by another person
- Loud snoring
- Abrupt awakenings from sleep, often with snorting sounds
- Waking up with a headache in the morning
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Attention problems
What negative effects can sleep apnea have on the body?
Many people discount the seriousness of sleep apnea, thinking it’s just a little snoring. That’s a risky line of thinking. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to a number of very serious health concerns:
- High blood pressure — Because you wake up over and over during the night, this process places stress on your body, activating your hormone systems. This raises your blood pressure.
- Heart disease — People with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to have heart attacks, strokes, and atrial fibrillation.
- Type 2 diabetes — Sleep apnea is common in people with type 2 diabetes. This is because when your body is tired it has trouble effectively processing insulin.
- Weight gain — Sleep apnea can make your body release more of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you crave carbs and sweets.
- Adult asthma — Adult asthma and sleep apnea combined tend to cause the patient to suffer from more asthma attacks.
- Car accidents — People with sleep apnea are up to five times more likely than normal sleepers to have traffic accidents, and to even fall asleep at the wheel.
Ready to do something about your snoring and potential sleep apnea? Give us a call at eos Sleep, (212) 873-6036, to make an appointment at either of our two Manhattan offices.