Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA is a common sleep disorder, but can be potentially dangerous. If you are suffering from this disorder, your breathing will stop and start repeatedly during sleep.
In obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles of your throat relax intermittently, which causes our airway to get blocked while sleeping.
There are several risks associated with obstructive sleep apnea, including cardiovascular disease, liver disorders, hypertension, and diabetes.
What are the Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
There are several symptoms that would indicate you have obstructive sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Waking up from sleep by choking or gasping for air
- Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
- Morning headache
- High blood pressure
- Irritability or depression
- Pauses in your breathing
Many people don’t think snoring is a problem or a symptom of a disease. They just ignore it. But the truth is snoring could be pointing you towards a much serious problem.
Who is at Risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
There is no hard and fast rule regarding who can develop obstructive sleep apnea, but the risk of this condition increases if you have the following conditions:
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in obese people. The reason behind it is that the fat deposits around your airway. And that results in obstruction in breathing.
Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
People who have a high blood pressure or hypertension are more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.
Usually, men are more prone to developing obstructive sleep apnea than women.
Chronic Nasal Congestion
If you have narrowed airways or a nasal congestion at night, you are twice as likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.
People who suffer from diabetes have a higher chance of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
Why is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
One of the main reasons why obstructive sleep apnea is dangerous is because it causes you to have cardio vascular problems.
Due to sudden drops of oxygen levels, your blood pressure is increased. And that increase in blood pressure puts a strain on your cardiovascular system.
High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the main causes of heart disease.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your chances of having the following diseases increase:
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Coronary artery disease
How can Obstructive Sleep Apnea be Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea will include your doctor making the evaluation based on the symptoms you exhibit.
Physical examination of your nose, mouth, and the back of your throat will be made.
To make the final diagnosis, you will have to undergo tests like polysomnography, in which an overnight test will be done to test your breathing pattern.
What are the Treatment Options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
If you have a mild case of obstructive sleep apnea, you will have to make some lifestyle changes:
- Lose weight
- Exercise regularly
- No overdrinking alcohol
- Quit smoking
- Use allergy medications or a nasal decongestant
- Avoid sleeping on your back
Other treatment options include:
- Breathing therapies – positive airway pressure device; a machine that delivers air pressure so that the number of respiratory events is reduced
- Surgical procedures
Are you worried that your obstructive sleep apnea will affect the health of your heart? Visit Keystone Cardiovascular Center and have all your worries addressed by our skilled staff.