If someone has told you that you snore loudly, a lot, you may have sleep apnea; it’s a sleep disorder that disrupts your breathing often throughout the night.

Sleep apnea prevents you from getting a good night’s rest, as it briefly snaps you awake each time you stop breathing. You probably won’t even remember this happening because it’s so quick.

Many patients don’t know they have sleep apnea unless someone tells them. But it can lead to more health problems if left untreated. At Forest Hills Orthodontic Associates, Dr. Emanuel Mizrahi is a sleep apnea specialist who can treat your sleep apnea and help you get the rest you need.

Types of sleep apnea

The two most common types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea, with OSA occurring most often.

OSA happens when the muscles in your throat relax and obstruct your airways. As these muscles narrow, your oxygen intake drastically falls and your brain panics and wakes you up.

Central sleep apnea, however, doesn’t happen because of blocked airways. It’s the result of improper signaling between your brain and respiration muscles. Central sleep apnea is often tied to conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

Both types of sleep apnea share the same symptoms, which include:

  • Waking up gasping for air
  • Daily fatigue
  • Hard time focusing
  • Frequent mood changes and forgetfulness
  • Loud snoring
  • Morning headaches
  • Dry mouth upon waking
  • Insomnia

Everyone experiences different symptoms, though. Some patients who have sleep apnea may not snore at night.

How sleep apnea impacts your health

There are a number of complications linked to sleep apnea. It can increase the chances of heart attack, high blood pressure, daytime sleepiness, and weight gain.

Heart attack

Patients diagnosed with OSA have a greater chance of heart attacks. Since OSA stops your breathing, your blood oxygen levels drop. This can put extra strain on your heart because your oxygen intake changes so much.

Sleep apnea is also linked to atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes fast, abnormal heartbeats.

High blood pressure

Similar to heart problems, sleep apnea can raise your blood pressure because of the sudden drop in oxygen levels. It can also make the symptoms of high blood pressure worse.

Daytime sleepiness

If you have sleep apnea, your risk of getting into a car accident is five times higher than it is for people getting normal sleep.

Daytime sleepiness poses many problems for your daily routine. Your body isn’t getting that deep sleep we need so badly to function properly. This leads to concentration problems, irritability, and even depression.

Weight problems

While being overweight is one of the causes of sleep apnea, it can make managing your weight hard as well.

This happens because your body releases more ghrelin, a hormone that can give you a sweet tooth. And your metabolism slows when you’re not getting enough sleep, which may lead to weight gain.

Causes of sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea can affect adults and children. The causes of sleep apnea are:

  • Being overweight
  • Large tongue or tonsils
  • Neck size greater than 17 inches for men and 16 inches for women
  • Being older than 40
  • Family history of sleep disorders

Men have a much higher risk for sleep apnea than women. The use of sedatives is linked to sleep apnea development as well, since they’re relaxants.

How to treat sleep apnea

Treating sleep apnea early can help prevent worsening health conditions. Dr. Mizrahi can fit you for a CPAP device, one of the best treatments available for sleep apnea. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. The device stops your airways from narrowing and lets you, and your family, get a good night’s sleep.

Ready to sleep better? Get your free consultation today at Forest Hills Orthodontic Associates. Call our Forest Hills, New York, office or click the Free Consult button online.