There has been a lot of research done recently on the effects sleep apnea has on quality of life, including excessive tiredness, mood swings, lack of focus and concentration and a broad range of other mental and emotional conditions. Now, a new study has come to light that suggests treatments can actually help the brain to heal from unhealthy physical changes that occur as a result of chronic obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly. People who suffer from this condition experience difficulty breathing during sleep, or may even stop breathing altogether. Often, heavy snoring is a strong symptom that a person may have a problem, particularly if the snoring is punctuated by periods of heavy silence. This condition does not simply cause extreme tiredness, sore throats and lack of concentration and mood control. In some cases can even lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Those who suffer from this disorder can pursue a number of treatments, from mouth guards to surgery. One of the more common treatments for many serious cases is the use of a CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, machine. This machine consists of a mask attached to an oxygen machine that ensures the body receives a steady airflow throughout the night so that breathing remains constant.
CPAP treatment can almost completely reverse the symptoms of sleep disorders such as OSA. People who use these machines report vastly increased quality of life, better focus and energy, improved concentration and much better mood control throughout the day. Another benefit, however, may be the reversal of unhealthy brain changes that occur as a result of the disorder.
Patients who suffer from OSA experience changes in their brain stem activity. These changes are directly related to an increased risk of heart disease among such patients. A recent study has shed light on the effectiveness of CPAP treatment when it comes to reducing the risk of heart disease associated with sleep disorders.
The health risks associated with OSA arise from a lack of oxygen getting to the brain during sleep. This lack of oxygen can result in reduced brain function, which changes the overall behavior of the organ. Since CPAP machines provide a steady airflow to the body, changes to the brain stem can not only be stopped, but reversed as a result. In the end, this means that patients who accept CPAP treatments experience a greatly reduced risk of heart disease from their condition.
Treating the Problem
There’s no reason for OSA to go untreated. People who have any of the symptoms of the illness should seek diagnosis at a sleep clinic and look for treatment via a qualified ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor. If you live in the Atlanta area and think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, call our office today for an appointment to have the condition properly diagnosed and treated. It could save your life.