The Serious Effects of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common, though potentially serious, disorder that causes disruptions to your sleep every night. As a result of your interrupted rest, you could experience many different symptoms. Side effects include chronic exhaustion, headaches, mood swings, and more. OSA can also have critical consequences for your long-term oral health. Dr. J.D. Murray and Dr. William Alexander can you help you understand the signs and treat sleep apnea at their East Point, GA, office. 

What Is Sleep Apnea?

To get complete rest, your body should enter a state of deep relaxation when you are asleep. Ideally, all tension should leave your muscles and you will experience multiple full REM (rapid-eye movement) cycles. Unfortunately, if you suffer from sleep apnea, your throat muscles and soft tissues can relax too much, causing your throat to narrow, or your soft palate to droop. When this happens, you airway can become partially or completely blocked. In other cases, your tongue could fall back in your mouth, which will have similar effects. Every time your breathing stops, you will wake up or move to a lighter stage of sleep, although you may not be aware that you are doing so. This process could happen anywhere from a few times a night to dozens of times every hour.

Illustration of the anatomy of a person with obstructive sleep apnea

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Chronic exhaustion and daytime sleepiness are two of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. Other side effects can include:

  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating
  • Waking up suddenly in the middle of the night, especially with a short gasp or a sensation of choking

If you suffer from OSA, you may also snore because air must squeeze past your soft tissues to make its way through your throat, causing loud vibrations. However, not all patients who snore have sleep apnea.

Long-Term Health Effects of Sleep Apnea

It is extremely important to seek treatment for sleep apnea to protect your health. In addition to the immediate consequences for your daily life, sleep apnea can pose a number of continuing health risks. OSA has been linked to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and other serious issues. 

Drs. Murray and Alexander can treat most cases of mild to moderate OSA. They will collaborate with your physician to provide comprehensive and effective care.

Diagnosing and Treating OSA

If you suffer from any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, Dr. Murray or Dr. Alexander will typically supply an at-home testing device. The machine will measure your breath and how many times you wake up during the night. You may require more detailed sleep studies performed under the observation of a specialist. Drs. Murray and Alexander can treat most cases of mild to moderate OSA. They will collaborate with your physician to provide comprehensive and effective care. 

Seek Treatment Today

Do not let sleep apnea prevent you from getting the rest you need and affect your long-term health. Contact our office to learn more about this condition and to schedule diagnostic testing. 

To-do List:

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