Treating Sleep Apnea Side Effects
Roughly 90 million Americans snore while they sleep, making it seem like a normal "quirk" that some people have. While occasional snoring is often nothing to worry about, it can worsen with age. If your snoring becomes more persistent, you may be suffering from a serious medical condition known as sleep apnea.
The Dangers of Sleep Apnea
OSAS (Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome), the most common form of sleep apnea, occurs when the throat muscles don't open properly, thereby obstructing the airway. A person with sleep apnea will often stop breathing for a brief time while asleep, then suddenly resume breathing while snoring as well.
Not only can sleep apnea affect the quality of your sleep, but it can also result in various side effects. Common sleep apnea side effects often include:
- Extreme drowsiness during the day
- Decreased cognitive function
- Memory problems
- Mood problems
Sleep apnea can lead to more serious health risks as well. Some of the more severe sleep apnea side effects include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Atrial fibrillation
Preventing Sleep Apnea Side Effects
If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, there are things you can do to reduce some of the side effects:
- Sleep on your side to help keep your airways open.
- Lose weight if you're overweight (doing so can actually eliminate sleep apnea in some cases).
- Avoid alcohol, which relaxes the throat muscles and makes it more difficult to keep airways open. Alcohol also causes frequent waking.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking can cause the upper airways to swell, thereby blocking the passage of air.
Changes in your lifestyle may not always help eliminate sleep apnea. If this is the case for you, you may want to use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device, which is a mask that helps keep the airways open.
Sleep apnea can greatly reduce the quality of your sleep as well as cause serious health issues. By treating your sleep apnea properly, you can get better sleep, which can help improve your mental and physical health. If you have issues snoring, it may be wise to visit your doctor to find out if you have sleep apnea.