Sleep apnea is a common disorder that many people have heard of, even if they do not fully understand the extent of the condition. More than 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, though this number could be much higher since the disorder goes undetected very often. People of all ages experience sleep apnea. Though the condition is very common, that does not take away from the detrimental effects it can have on a person who it afflicts.

Sleep apnea is characterized by breathing that is consistently interrupted throughout the night. Some individuals wake hundreds of time throughout the night in an attempt to catch their breath. This action means very little sleep is received by the body. People who suffer from sleep apnea are chronically tired, which can affect multiple areas in life. For this reason, it is important that you not let your assumed sleep apnea go unchecked or untreated.

The Signs of Sleep Apnea

Bedtime is supposed to serve as the body’s natural time of rejuvenation. For people who suffer from sleep apnea, going to bed is anything but restful. Waking many times per night can wreak havoc on the body. It is important that you, or your loved one, recognize the signs of sleep apnea so that you can get the necessary treatment. If you experience any of the following, make an appointment with your ENT doctor to discuss sleep apnea.

  • Snoring is extremely common, but it is often the biggest indicator of sleep apnea. People who have sleep apnea snore very loudly throughout the night, startling often to take a good breath.
  • Gasping for air
  • Suddenly waking up, especially while snoring

It may be difficult to determine that you are experiencing these signs for yourself, but if you are having problems with excessive tiredness, consider participating in a sleep study that is designed to recognize the signs of sleep apnea. Undiagnosed sleep apnea can lead to multiple health problems.

The Consequences of Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea

Leaving this condition untreated means more than losing vital sleep. People with sleep apnea may complain or even make jokes about not getting a good night’s rest, but it is an affliction that should be taken seriously. Having a sleep disorder can lead to serious health issues, problems at work and social struggles. Just a few of the consequences of untreated sleep apnea include:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Depression
  • Excessive weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attacks
  • Memory loss
  • Stroke
  • Impotence

Studies have shown that people who experienced breathing issues during sleep showed earlier signs of cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s.

What is the Good News?

Sleep apnea can be treated. Though treatments vary from noninvasive procedures to utilizing specialized breathing machines, you can get a great nights rest again.

If you suspect that you are suffering from sleep apnea, do not delay consulting your doctor. The consequences can be serious. Speak with your doctor at Atlanta ENT about a customized treatment plan and start taking back your nights. With good sleep, you will feel like a renewed individual.