Sleep Apnea & Complications – Las Vegas, NV
The Long-Term Health Effects of Sleep Apnea
Your partner or roommate is most likely to hear the loud snoring that often accompanies sleep apnea in Las Vegas, but that likely won’t be the worst of it. Sleep apnea is a serious health condition that can cause several long-term complications. As a Diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Pam West has extensive knowledge and experience in recognizing the warning signs of the disorder and treating it before it has a chance to do extensive, irreversible damage to your health.
How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Overall Health
The most common form of sleep apnea is OSA, or Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This is where tissues near the back of your throat collapse while you’re asleep and obstruct the flow of air, causing brain oxygen levels to drop severely and forcing you to wake up. OSA can wake you up anywhere from 30 to 100 times every hour, and as a result, the quality of your sleep will suffer, which tends to lead to exhaustion and drowsiness during the day.
The lack of sleep combined with frequent oxygen deprivation can, over time, lead to any number of health complications. Cardiac problems such as congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia can easily occur; people are also at an increased risk for heart attack or stroke. Liver function will also decrease, leading to the possible development of diabetes.
Patients with OSA also tend to suddenly gain weight. This is because poor quality sleep affects the production of the hormones meant to control your appetite; getting less sleep will lead you to eating more than you normally would without realizing it. Combined with the natural lack of energy that comes with sleep deprivation, OSA can easily lead to obesity (which in turn can make OSA symptoms worse).
Other possible symptoms of OSA include insomnia, attention deficiency, problems with memory, depression, irritability, mood swings, headaches, and occasional complications during surgeries. If you notice any of these potential warning signs of sleep apnea, call our practice immediately so that we can arrange for a sleep study.
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
The goal of sleep apnea treatment is to keep the airway open and maintain the flow of oxygen throughout the night. We often use oral sleep appliances as an alternative to traditional CPAP machines. The machines can be bulky and uncomfortable, which causes nearly half of patients to stop using them at the end of the first year. Oral appliances are much easier and more convenient to use. They will reposition your jaw or tongue in a way that keeps the airway unblocked throughout the night. In some cases, we can combine the traditional CPAP method with oral appliances to reduce the pressure of the machine, making it easier to wear.
Protecting Your Health
If you have a snoring problem, don’t let it go unaddressed! Protect your health and consult Dr. West as soon as possible so that you can start enjoying restful nights again.