While there are a number of sleep disorders, sleep apnea may be the most dangerous. In addition to causing you to snore loudly and feel tired all day, untreated sleep apnea can harm many areas of the body.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are two types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles at the back of your throat relax throughout the night. When this happens, your airway narrows, and you do not get enough air with each breath. When your blood oxygen levels drop, your brain will wake you up in order to fix the problem. This can happen five to 30 times an hour, with each awakening being so quick you won’t remember that it happened in the morning. But waking up this many times throughout the night will prevent you from getting deep, restful sleep.
Central sleep apnea occurs when the signals sent from your brain to your breathing muscles get disrupted and you stop breathing. Like obstructive sleep apnea, your brain will sense the drop in blood oxygen levels and wake you up.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Dry mouth
- Trouble paying attention
- Sore throat
Systems Sleep Apnea Affects
Not getting enough sleep can seriously impact your physical and mental health. Untreated sleep apnea can harm many different body systems.
- Endocrine system – insulin resistance causes your blood sugar levels to rise and increases your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes
- Respiratory system – symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease worsen
- Digestive system – increased risk of fatty liver disease, liver scarring and high levels of liver enzymes as well as worse heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms
- Circulatory system – high blood pressure can put strain on your heart, putting you at risk of abnormal heart rhythm and stroke
- Nervous system – numbness and tingling sensations are common with central sleep apnea
Seeking treatment for your sleep apnea is crucial in order to protect your mental and physical health.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with an experienced sleep professional, contact Texas ENT & Allergy today.