Restful sleep is one of our most basic needs, yet many can’t get through the night without waking repeatedly. Snoring, fatigue, and frequent trips to the bathroom are just scratching the surface of how sleep apnea affects your life.
At SLENT, with locations in Mandeville, Slidell, and Hammond, Louisiana, our otolaryngology specialists can help you overcome sleep apnea and live a better, safer life. If you’ve been living with untreated sleep apnea, here are five ways it might be impacting your waking hours.
5 side effects of untreated sleep apnea
If you’ve read up on sleep apnea in any capacity, you’ve likely heard about some of the most common signs of sleep apnea. These can range from snoring and sore throats to daytime fatigue and sleepiness.
However, these are only some of the short-term effects. If sleep apnea is left untreated long enough, the lack of quality sleep will begin to catch up to you in big ways. Here are a few to look out for.
1. Mood swings and irritability
Missing a few hours of sleep can make anyone irritable. Now imagine missing sleep every night for an extended period of time. You might not even notice your personality changing, but those around you will.
2. Relationship troubles
Naturally, if sleep apnea affects your emotions, it will affect how you treat others. Romantic partners are often the most affected. Along with mood swings, you might also experience disinterest in sex and romance, and your bed partner may complain that your snoring is interrupting their sleep, too.
3. Brain fog and loss of focus
Fatigue leads to mental exhaustion, which causes brain fog. This not only decreases your performance at work or school, but it can also put people in danger if you operate vehicles or heavy machinery.
4. Frequent headaches
If you often wake up with a sore throat and headache, sleep apnea might be to blame. These morning headaches set the tone for your entire day, only furthering feelings of exhaustion and depression.
5. Increased health risks
The longer you go without consistent, restful sleep, the higher your risk of developing heart problems, high blood pressure, and stroke. Obesity and type 2 diabetes have also been associated with sleep apnea, though it’s not clear whether there’s a causal link.
Treatment options for sleep apnea
It’s estimated that over 25% of people between the ages of 30 and 70 have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and many don’t even know it. Most cases can be diagnosed and treated by a dentist or ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT), so getting checked out is an easy process.
At SLENT, we offer Home Sleep Testing in the comfort of your own bed. If the data indicate sleep apnea, we can help find a solution that works for you. Depending on what’s causing the obstruction, you might benefit from:
- Minor surgery to remove excess tissue in your throat
- Repositioning of your jaw with a custom-fitted oral appliance
- Positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy
- InspireⓇ, an implantable device
To learn more about OSA and your treatment options, schedule a consultation at SLENT by calling 985-327-5905, or visit the contact page for more options.