A CPAP Machine Could Save Your Life!
If you snore and have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, you may have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Although snoring is annoying, sleep apnea is much more – it is a dangerous health condition that can contribute to diabetes, heart problems, and extreme exhaustion. For patients with sleep apnea, the diagnosis begins with a sleep study. If you are told you have sleep apnea, don’t ignore it. A CPAP machine, the most common treatment for sleep apnea, could save your life.
How is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Loud snoring is the most obvious symptom of sleep apnea. This happens when the airway in the back of the throat collapses temporarily, or your tongue falls back and partially blocks the airway. Individuals with OSA stop breathing for anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes throughout their sleep cycle. Many people with sleep apnea have been told they “hold their breath” up to 75 times a night, which can be frightening for your partner and dangerous for your health.
Sleep apnea is dangerous for several reasons. First, any time you stop breathing, you reduce the amount of oxygen getting to your brain. Second, the frequent interruptions in your sleep cycle mean you never fall into a deep, restful sleep. This sleep deprivation contributes to various health issues, such as blood sugar fluctuations, memory fog, and daytime sleepiness. People with sleep apnea are more likely to fall asleep while driving or lose focus at work.
Individuals with sleep apnea often develop high blood pressure due to the stress on their cardiovascular system. This raises the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. OSA also increases the risk of heart arrhythmia, which can lead to sudden death if it occurs frequently.
Untreated sleep apnea poses a danger to your health when you use certain medications or undergo general anesthesia for surgery. Sedatives, general anesthesia, and narcotic analgesics relax your airways, worsening sleep apnea and potentially leading to breathing problems. Some studies also suggest patients with OSA are more likely to develop complications after surgery.
How Does a CPAP Machine Help?
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. It is the most popular and effective treatment for mild to severe sleep apnea. A mask worn while you sleep delivers pressurized air that prevents airway collapse. This allows you to breathe freely without the blocked airway causing your inhalations and exhalations from periodically halting while you are asleep.
The results are not immediate, so you should give CPAP at least a month to determine whether it is effectively helping your sleep apnea. Within a few weeks, you should notice an improvement in your sleep and a reduction of troubling symptoms such as daytime sleepiness. The stress load on your cardiovascular system is greatly reduced, which can, in turn, reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. A final benefit is that your snoring will stop, so your partner will also get a better night’s sleep.
While CPAP works for most patients, it is not effective for everyone. Some people are too uncomfortable wearing the mask and stop using it. Without nightly use, it loses effectiveness. The mask and equipment can be cumbersome, making it difficult to travel. However, the doctors at Flushing Oral Surgery offer alternatives for patients who have tried CPAP without success. Oral appliances and corrective surgery may help in these cases.
How Do I Know if I Need a CPAP Machine?
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, a CPAP machine may be suggested by your physician. Ask your doctor to arrange a sleep test or call Flushing Oral Surgery to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.
Any of the following symptoms may indicate you have OSA and will benefit from using a CPAP machine:
- Excessive or loud snoring
- Holding your breath or gasping for air when asleep
- A dry mouth on waking
- Frequent headaches in the morning
- Frequently waking throughout the night
- Chronic daytime fatigue or falling asleep during the day
- Brain fog or difficulty concentrating
- Frequent irritability or anxiety
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or experience any of the above symptoms, we can help. A consultation with one of our surgeons is the first step toward getting restful, restorative sleep and minimizing your risk of serious health complications.
Contact our office at Flushing NY Office Phone Number 347-943-1960 to schedule your sleep apnea consultation.
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