Sleep is an essential part of human existence. As important as breathing and eating. It is the time our body and mind heal and repair from the daily damage and prepares to take on the challenges of the next day. It is not possible to achieve optimal health without undisturbed restful sleep.
Lack of restful sleep can negatively impact our physical and mental health. Interrupted sleep can result in daytime fatigue and drowsiness. There are many conditions, and diseases that interfere with regular sleep patterns. Sleep Apnea is the most common of those conditions. In sleep apnea, a person’s breathing stops till the body starts to fight back to restore normal breathing. It can happen several (even hundreds) times during a single sleep cycle. Each of these interruptions causes the body to increase the heart rate to cope with the depleting oxygen levels.
Sleep apnea frequently goes undiagnosed and can lead to compromised breathing, increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, strokes, high blood pressure and increased level of Carbon Dioxide. Low levels of blood oxygen can cause problems with memory and concentration.
Sleep apnea is classified into three main types:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea: As we sleep our muscles and tissues relax as part of the standard resting phase. In some people, the muscles and tissues ‘over-relax’ and fall back obstructing the airway passage.
- Central Sleep Apnea: The brain fails to send proper signals to the body to regulate breathing.
- Complex Sleep Apnea: In this condition both Obstructive and central sleep apnea are present.
Common Causes and Risk Factors
- Age: Muscle degeneration is a natural part of aging and can result in muscles over-relaxing and obstructing the airway passage.
- Obesity: Excessive body weight is directly linked to having sleep apnea.
- Alcoholism: Alcohol acts as a muscle relaxant and can cause the muscles to relax to a point where they block airway passage.
- Smoking or drug abuse: Smoke and drugs can irritate the respiratory system causing inflammation and fluid retention in the upper respiratory tract. This can hinder airflow.
- Medication: Certain medications such as muscle relaxants and narcotic pain medication increase the risk of sleep apnea.
- Genetic factors: Males are more at risk for sleep apnea than females. Some people by family history are predisposed to developing the condition.
- Allergies: Allergies can contribute by causing upper respiratory tract inflammation and fluid retention that results in narrowing of the airway passage.
The first step towards is to consult a specialist who based on your medical history and symptoms will determine if your condition is benign or Sleep Apnea (more information for individuals). For diagnostic precision, the doctor may refer you to a sleep clinic for a Sleep study.
The treatment plan is based on the type and severity of your condition and may include,
Lifestyle changes such as:
- New sleeping position.
- Weight management.
- Quitting smoking, alcohol, or other irritants.
- Positive Airway Pressure therapy.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).
- Automatic Positive Airway Pressure(APAP).
- Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure(BiPAP).
Medication such as:
- Theophylline to stimulate breathing.
Oral Appliances such as:
- Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs).
- Tongue retaining Mouthpieces.
Surgery such as:
- Maxillomandibular Advancement.
If you doubt that you or your loved one may be suffering from sleep apnea it is advised you visit a specialist in your area for professional consultation and diagnosis. Untreated sleep apnea can have dangerous consequences on cardiovascular health and mental well being. The resulting fatigue and drowsiness can result in accidents while driving or operating machinery.
We recommend visiting Dr. Atif Sohail at Arlington Sleep Apnea Clinic. The practice is equipped with state of the art diagnostic and treatment tools. The staff is experienced, friendly and dedicated to providing the best available care in a comfortable environment. They patiently handle all patient queries and concerns and help ease any treatment-related anxiety or stress.
Dr. Sohail believes that individual cases are unique and require a custom approach to treat the underlying cause of the disease. He has built his practice based on years of experience and expertise that make his practice the best Sleep Apnea Clinic in Arlington. He is committed to curing his patients with the most advanced tools and techniques and restores them to optimal health. He is hugely recommended by his patients past and current.
Sleep Apnea can progressively destroy your health and mental state. It can negatively impact your work life, interpersonal relationships and overall quality of life. Do not allow Sleep Apnea to progress unchecked. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Atif Sohail the most highly reputed Sleep Apnea Specialist in Arlington.