Complications of Sleep Apnea

Many people don’t realize they have sleep apnea — a sleeping disorder where you stop breathing for brief periods of time while you sleep — until the people they live with complain about the snoring or loud breathing. 

While snoring may be the primary concern of those trying to sleep near you, untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk for developing many serious health complications. Not everyone has the same kind of sleep apnea, however, and it may take different treatments to effectively manage different types. 

At Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine in Algonquin, Illinois, our pulmonary experts specialize in sleep medicine. We offer comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services to help patients manage their sleep apnea and prevent health complications.   

Here’s a close look at sleep apnea and the complications it can bring if left untreated. 

Understanding sleep apnea

People with sleep apnea stop breathing for brief periods of time while they’re asleep. This causes the body to wake up just enough to begin breathing again. There are three kinds of sleep apnea:

Obstructive sleep apnea

With obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles in your throat relax and cause your airways to close.

Central sleep apnea

With central sleep apnea, the signals from the brain to the throat muscles misfire, stopping you from breathing.

Complex sleep apnea

This kind of sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

Complications of sleep apnea

The irregular breathing patterns sleep apnea causes means your brain and body aren’t getting the right amount of oxygen needed for optimal functioning. Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder, meaning this lack of oxygen happens night after night. 

Over time, not getting enough oxygen can contribute to serious health complications, some of which can become chronic health disorders on their own. The complications associated with sleep apnea include:

Sleep apnea can also create lasting mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. 

Treating sleep apnea

The good news is that sleep apnea is treatable. The team at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine begins by assessing your medical history and evaluating your sleep to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Once they know what’s causing you sleep apnea, they might suggest a number of options, such as losing weight, changing your sleeping position, and CPAP therapy

CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure machine. With CPAP therapy, a machine sends a continuous stream of air into your mouth and lungs while you sleep to keep your airways open.

If you have sleep apnea and want treatment, or if you want to see if you have sleep apnea, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine today.

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