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Do you have Sleep Apnea: Know the Signs

By TE Cunningham

Sleep is one of the most important bodily functions for maintaining good health. It dramatically affects your energy level.

Prolonged lack of sleep can lead to issues such as heart disease, diabetes and more. It can render a person unaware of surroundings and threats due to sleep deprivation – for instance, an increase in the chance of a sleep-deprived individual getting into an auto accident.

This is why sleep apnea, untreated, can be troublesome. Sleep apnea is defined as a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. It affects as many as 18 million Americans and can even occur in children, but it occurs more frequently in adult males.

Sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart issues and stroke.

Some of the indicators that you may have sleep apnea include

  • Loud snoring
  • Regularly feeling tired (even after long periods of sleep)
  • Being sleepy during the day
  • Stoppage of breathing (your bed partner typically notices this sign)
  • Awaking with a dry throat
  • Problems focusing
  • Being irritable
  • Awaking and Urinating during the night

There are two general classifications of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when throat muscles relax and your airway collapses during sleep. Central sleep apnea most typically affects persons with heart disease and neurological disorders; the brain fails to send signals to the muscle to breathe in this instance. It is less common than obstructive sleep apnea but shares some common symptoms.

Some of the main contributors to developing obstructive sleep apnea are:

  • Abnormalities in the nose or throat  
  • Obesity
  • Medical conditions (diabetes, stroke, heart disease)
  • Family history
  • Small nasal airways
  • Allergies 
  • Smoking

People with untreated sleep apnea often struggle to reach deep sleep stages because their airways close as they relax.

So, how do you know if you have it? First, consult a medical professional specializing in sleep apnea; typically, the doctor will have you participate in a sleep pattern study, which may be done at home.

The most common, effective way to treat the problem is treating sleep apnea is the CPAP machine; CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP). Patients can also see improvement with weight loss, reduction of alcohol intake, quitting smoking, not laying on their back when they sleep and more.  Some patients do opt for surgical procedures to treat sleep apnea as well.

For Sleep Apnea treatment & testing in Emporia, KS, contact us at 620-341-7722 or email us at sleepdisorders@newmanrh.org

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Newman Regional Health
1201 W 12th Avenue
Emporia, KS 66801
620-343-6800
Newman Medical Plaza
1301 W 12th Avenue
Emporia, KS 66801
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