What is Sleep Apnea?
Helping Las Vegas & Summerlin Stop Snoring & Sleep Better
Snoring is a common habit, and one that’s assumed by most people to be relatively harmless. While this is true in some cases, others may actually point to a much more severe and potentially dangerous condition – sleep apnea. While several types of sleep apnea exist, the most common is obstructive sleep apnea, which is characterized by constant pauses in breathing while a patient is asleep. Anyone can develop sleep apnea, and serious consequences can follow if your case is left untreated. That’s why Dr. Pamela West and her team here at iSleepSolutions want to provide you with help as soon as possible here in the Las Vegas, Nevada area.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
It’s important for patients to be able to breathe regularly and consistently while sleeping, despite relaxing muscles. When the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much, they can minimize or even completely close your airway, causing obstructive sleep apnea. As a result, your oxygen levels can be lowered to such a dangerous degree that your brain sends out an emergency signal, urging you to wake up and readjust your airway to allow proper flow once more. This awakening is usually so brief that patients may not even be aware of it; in fact, you may think you had a full, satisfying night of sleep! Sadly, these pauses can occur up to hundreds of times each night, disturbing your most restful phases.
Common Symptoms for Sleep Apnea
- Excessive daytime exhaustion, no matter how many hours you slept the night before
- Dry mouth and/or sore throat in the mornings
- Headaches in the morning
- Chest pain in the morning
- Issues with memory and/or concentration
- Pauses in breathing, sudden choking, or gasping when sleeping
Common Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
- Being overweight
- Having a large neck
- The presence of high blood pressure
- Having a naturally small throat/airway
- Experiencing consistent chronic nasal congestion at night
- Having a family history of sleep apnea
- Routine smoking and/or alcohol use
- Being male
- Being between the ages of 18-60
Consequences of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a significant metal condition, and one that can lead to complications involving the patient’s overall wellbeing. These include:
- Cardiovascular concerns – Significant drops in your oxygen levels can increase your blood pressure and have dire effects on your heart. In fact, coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes are all more common.
- Higher risk of car accidents – The lack of restful sleep caused by sleep apnea can lead to serious problems with concentration and fatigue, even causing patients to fall asleep behind the wheel.
- Problems involving medication and surgery – Certain medications may worsen obstructive sleep apnea, and complications following surgery can be more common.
- Diabetes – There is scientific evidence that a lack of sleep could cause patients to achieve a pre-diabetic state. These conditions also connect backwards, as the presence of diabetes can contribute to sleep loss.
- Erectile Dysfunction – Studies have shown that the presence of sleep apnea may increase the likelihood of male patients experiencing erectile dysfunction.
Contact Us to Learn More
Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea? Contact our Summerlin, NV practice today for the support and skilled assistance you need most. Dr. West can provide either oral appliance therapy or combined therapy to effectively combat sleep apnea, depending on your unique needs and preferences.