In the US alone, six out of every ten partnered adults has a problem with snoring. For many, the problem is minor; it happens in the spring and fall allergy seasons but tends to go away after a while. But then there is the other group for whom snoring is no joke. It’s the cause of concern, of disagreement, of the morning after headaches though no alcohol has been consumed.
The noise of snoring wakes your partner. The silence between the snores keeps them awake, counting the seconds between breaths, worrying you’ll wake up in the morning. This snoring is caused by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Fortunately, the problem can be corrected, but only if you let a doctor examine you and your sleep habits first. Don’t think your snoring is a problem? These are five ways OSA can affect your life.
Wake Up Headaches
Waking up with a headache is a common complaint of people with OSA. The lack of oxygen overnight makes the blood vessels widen. When the alarm goes off, they have a pounding, vascular headache that is tough to get rid of.
Mood Swings and Depression
Getting enough sleep helps to regulate the hormonal and chemical levels that balance your mood. A person with OSA may think they get enough sleep, but in reality their body keeps waking up just enough to remember to breathe. The chemicals in the brain get off balance and never achieve enough sleep to catch up. This is the perfect condition for mood swings, depression and anxiety to flourish.
Hypertension and Heart Disease
There is a strong relationship between obstructive sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Like mood related disorders, the problem is an ever-widening circle. A poor night’s sleep causes higher blood pressure and stress on the heart, which in turn cause a poor night’s rest. The cycle can continue, ending in heart failure, heart attack, or stroke.
High blood pressure, heart disease, and obstructive sleep apnea are also related to your weight. A high percentage of persons with OSA are obese. In fact, losing weight with untreated OSA is extremely difficult because the body’s metabolism shuts down due in part to the lack of restful sleep.
Quality of Life
People with OSA tend to be tired all the time. They want to want to be active, but the cumulative amount of sleep deficit can make it difficult to do anything but sedentary activities. This feeds the weight gain, increasing both hypertension and depression. Not only that, but many report feeling sleepy all day, every day, making it hard to function at a basic level and too dangerous to do normal activities like drive to work or mow the lawn.
The Good News Is…
OSA is treatable! Dr. Agarwal can create an oral appliance to wear during the night. It moves your jaw just enough to keep your airway open for deep, healthy oxygen intake as you sleep. Call Raleigh Dental Arts to schedule your consultation!