Sleep apnea treatment provides a crucial advantage: better health. Sleep apnea, marked by breathing pauses during slumber, heightens risks of heart woes, diabetes, and daytime drowsiness.
Effective treatment, such as CPAP therapy or lifestyle changes, like weight loss, enhances sleep quality and lowers dangers. Since the treatment helps you curb these risks, it boosts your overall well-being, ensuring a more energetic and alert life.
It’s a pivotal step towards improved health, allowing you to sidestep severe complications and enjoy a more vibrant existence. So, if you’ve been advised to see a specialist that can help you treat OSA, act now to reduce your risks of severe complications.
When should you Seek Treatment for Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder, disrupts breathing patterns during slumber and can lead to severe health consequences. It’s vital to identify signs that warrant prompt treatment. Here are eight indications that signal it’s time to seek help for sleep apnea;
- Loud and Persistent Snoring: One of the primary signs of sleep apnea is loud, chronic snoring. While occasional snoring is normal, persistent and disruptive snoring may indicate an underlying issue. Sleep apnea causes the airway to become partially blocked. This would then cause noisy breathing sounds as air struggles to pass through. If your snoring is so loud that it disturbs your sleep or your partner’s sleep, it’s a potential red flag for sleep apnea.
- Pauses in Breathing: Another hallmark of sleep apnea is breathing pauses during sleep. These pauses are known as apneas. They occur when the muscles in the throat relax excessively, leading to a temporary cessation of breathing. These interruptions can last for a few seconds to a minute. And, they can happen multiple times throughout the night. If you’ve been told that you stop breathing during sleep or if you wake up gasping for air, it’s a clear sign to seek medical attention.
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: Feeling excessively tired or drowsy during the day, despite getting what should be a full night’s sleep isn’t natural. It is a strong indication of sleep apnea. The repeated awakenings caused by breathing disruptions prevent you from reaching the deeper stages of sleep. This leaves you fatigued and sleepy during waking hours. If you find it difficult to stay awake while working, driving, or engaging in daily activities, it’s time to consider sleep apnea as a possible cause.
- Morning Headaches: Frequent morning headaches can be a result of sleep apnea. The interrupted breathing patterns can lead to reduced oxygen levels in the blood. With oxygen levels reduced, you’d have increased carbon dioxide levels. This can trigger headaches upon waking. If you notice that you often wake up with a headache that improves as the day goes on, sleep apnea might be a contributing factor.
- Difficulty Concentrating and Memory Issues: Sleep apnea can affect cognitive function and memory. The disrupted sleep leaves your brain foggy and less alert. This can make it challenging to concentrate, and focus. You may also have problems remembering things. If you find yourself struggling with memory lapses, difficulty concentrating on tasks, or feeling mentally sluggish, it could be due to untreated sleep apnea.
- Mood Changes and Irritability: Sleep plays a crucial role in regulating mood. Sleep apnea can disrupt this balance. Individuals with untreated sleep apnea often experience mood swings. They may also struggle with irritability, and even depression. The constant fatigue and interrupted sleep can negatively impact emotional well-being. If you’ve noticed a significant change in your mood or increased irritability, sleep apnea might be a contributing factor.
- High Blood Pressure: Sleep apnea and high blood pressure (hypertension) are often intertwined. The repeated interruptions in breathing cause a surge in blood pressure. This in turn puts additional strain on the cardiovascular system. If you have been diagnosed with hypertension or your blood pressure readings are consistently high, it’s important to explore the possibility of sleep apnea as an underlying cause.
- Worsening of Existing Health Conditions: Sleep apnea can also exacerbate existing health issues. Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma can be negatively impacted by untreated sleep apnea. This is because the stress on the body caused by interrupted breathing can make it harder to manage these conditions effectively. If you notice that your existing health problems are getting worse despite adhering to treatment plans, it’s worth investigating whether sleep apnea could be a contributing factor.
What Happens When is Sleep Apnea not Treated?
To begin with, it isn’t really wise to not get sleep apnea treatment if you’ve been diagnosed and referred to a specialist for help. When left untreated, sleep apnea poses grave risks.
Ignoring it exacerbates health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and fatigue. As earlier explained, during sleep, breathing disruptions strain the heart and elevate blood pressure, heightening cardiovascular threats.
Unmanaged apnea leads to insulin resistance, worsening diabetes. Persistent fatigue impairs daily activities, affecting work and safety. Moreover, untreated sleep apnea impairs focus, causing accidents while driving or operating machinery.
Long-term neglect worsens these issues. Increased heart strain might lead to heart attacks, strokes, or irregular heartbeats. Untreated apnea could escalate diabetes complications, such as nerve damage and vision impairment.
Prolonged fatigue jeopardizes mental health, triggering mood swings, depression, and cognitive decline. Ignoring treatment also impacts relationships, intimacy, and productivity.
Sleep-deprived individuals may become irritable, straining connections. The loud snoring and gasping can disturb partners’ sleep, leading to sleep troubles for both. So, if you’ve already been diagnosed or you’re worried that you could be having sleep apnea, make arrangements to see a specialist like ENT doctor for a personalized treatment plan.
The key to maintaining your overall health and well being is recognizing the signs of sleep apnea and seeking treatment promptly. Consult an ENT specialist if you or a loved one experiences any of the eight indications in this article.
Sleep apnea can be effectively managed to significantly improve sleep quality and reduce the associated health risks. So, don’t ignore the signs. Take action for better sleep, improved health, and a more vibrant life.
To schedule a visit to an ENT for sleep apnea treatment in Singapore and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you, call or visit us at;
Allergy & Sinus ENT Specialist Centre Head & Neck Surgery Singapore
+65 9856 8391