If you have found that recently you are sleepy all the time, it could be down to something known as sleep apnea. You may never have heard of this condition before, or you might be vaguely aware of it, but either way, it’s going to be an issue that needs sorting. We’re going to take a look at sleep apnea, including what it is and other information about the condition. Keep reading if you would like to find out more.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder. When you are asleep, your body stops and starts breathing over and over which is not what it is supposed to do. You are supposed to just continually breathe while you’re asleep, but those who experience sleep apnea can’t do this. 

There are three main types of sleep apnea:

  • Central sleep apnea which occurs when your brain doesn’t send the correct signals to the muscles that control breathing, therefore causing you to stop.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form, and it is where the throat muscles relax. When you breathe, your throat needs to relax and contract in order to take those steady breaths that you’re used to, but if you’ve got sleep apnea, this isn’t going to be possible.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome is where someone has both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea

It can be very dangerous if left untreated because it’s possible that one day your body just won’t start breathing again in time. It’s essential that if you think you might have sleep apnea that you see your doctor.  

What are the symptoms?

There are a number of symptoms of sleep apnea. One of the main ones as you would have guessed is the fact that you are sleepy all the time, even if you have been to sleep for the entire night. This is because your body is working overtime in your sleep to try and keep you safe, meaning that you aren’t actually getting the rest that you need. 

Another symptom is that you snore loudly. Now, this doesn’t always mean that you have sleep apnea, and it also doesn’t mean that everyone with sleep apnea snores, but it might be an indication that there is an issue. 

Some of the other common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include waking up with a dry mouth, morning headache, gasping for air during sleep, irritability and even difficulty paying attention while you’re awake. If you have any of these symptoms and you’re worried, it’s important to contact your doctor, who may well refer you to an ENT.

What are the effects on the body?

You might be thinking that it appears sleep apnea isn’t that dangerous and all it does is leave you feeling a little tired during the day, but this simply isn’t true. If left untreated, sleep apnea can be extremely dangerous and contribute to a number of other health problems. For example, heart disease is one of the issues that sleep apnea may contribute to, but there is also obesity, high blood pressure, liver problems, adult asthma, depression and breathing troubles in general. This isn’t an extensive list, and there are still other diseases and conditions that sleep apnea can contribute to.

Your body needs to rest and when you have this condition, you won’t be getting the amount of sleep you need. If you couple any of these conditions with a lack of sleep, you may end up having a rough time of it.

Steps to take if you think you’ve got it

If you think that you may have sleep apnea, the first thing that you need to do is go and see your doctor. They may refer you to an ENT so that you can get the professional treatment that you need. There are steps that can be taken to help prevent sleep apnea and the problems that it causes, but you’re going to need specialist care to make this happen.

If you’re not sure whether or not it is sleep apnea, try tracking your symptoms for a couple of days before you book your doctor's visit. This way, you can give the doctor a whole list of symptoms with accurate information.

If you want to find out more about sleep apnea, then get in touch with Vero ENT Associates today at (772) 408-9556. A friendly member of the team is ready and waiting to direct your call to the most appropriate place.