Do you snore so loudly you wake up your partner or yourself regularly throughout the night? Do you believe you suffer from chronic fatigue? Do you ever wake up feeling like you’re suffocating? If so, sleep apnea treatment can make a difference in your life. At Regional ENT Associates in Gallatin, TN, we know all about the benefits of treating sleep apnea.
How Can Sleep Apnea Treatment Make a Difference in My Life?
Healthy Blood Pressure
If you suffer from high blood pressure and receive sleep apnea treatment, you will very likely find that your blood pressure drops to a healthy level after treatment. When you wake up several times throughout the night, your body becomes very stressed. This sends your body’s hormone production processes into overdrive. Therefore, blood pressure levels rise.
If you developed high blood pressure after developing sleep apnea, you may be able to eliminate your need for blood pressure regulation medication entirely if you get rid of your sleep apnea. Naturally, you must speak to your primary care physician before you change the dose of any medication or supplement you take. However, there’s an excellent chance that your blood pressure will return to a healthy range.
Waking up often stresses your body and leads to high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk for numerous medical conditions, including strokes and heart disease. Obstructive sleep apnea leads to low blood oxygen levels, which causes atrial fibrillation (a fast, fluttering heartbeat). It also changes how your body consumes oxygen.
Sleep apnea treatment mitigates your risk of developing heart disease or suffering from a heart attack or stroke. In part, this is due to the eliminated stress of waking up repeatedly throughout the night. More importantly, it changes the way your body consumes oxygen. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- Uncontrolled stress, anger or depression
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Uncontrolled hypertension
- High LDL levels
- Low LDL levels
- Physical inactivity
- BMI greater than 25
- High C-reactive protein
Reversal of Type 2 Diabetes
While no treatment yet exists to reverse type 1 diabetes, treating obstructive sleep apnea may reverse type 2 diabetes. Research is still being conducted on why this is. However, current research suggests that chronic sleep deprivation (caused by obstructive sleep apnea) prevents your body from using insulin efficiently. Inefficient insulin use causes type 2 diabetes.
Weight Loss or Easier Weight Maintenance
Have you noticed that you’ve started gaining weight after developing obstructive sleep apnea? Have you noticed it is much harder to maintain your weight than it was before you developed the condition? A vicious cycle exists between weight gain and obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is often caused by weight gain. However, it leads to chronic sleep deprivation. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to even more weight gain. If you gain enough weight after developing obstructive sleep apnea, the condition can worsen. Treating obstructive sleep apnea stops this vicious cycle in its tracks. It really does make a difference.
Reversal of Daytime Fatigue
Obstructive sleep apnea causes you to wake up dozens of times throughout the night. This makes adequate sleep impossible. When you go long enough without adequate sleep, you develop a condition known as chronic sleep deprivation. One of the most common symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation is daytime fatigue.
If you receive treatment for your obstructive sleep apnea or central sleep apnea, you will enjoy the reversal of daytime fatigue. Symptoms of daytime fatigue include severe drowsiness during the day, uncontrollable irritability, daytime fatigue and falling asleep uncontrollably. People with sleep apnea are at high risk of falling asleep while driving, watching TV, or even working.
Better Sleep for Your Partner
Treatment for sleep apnea doesn’t just improve sleep for you. It also improves sleep for your partner. When you treat your sleep apnea, you will no longer snore so loudly that your partner wakes up in the middle of the night. Moreover, she won’t lie awake at night listening to you gasp for breath and worrying about you not breathing.
We often see clients who request treatment for their sleep apnea because the snoring got so bad their partner started sleeping on a different floor of the house. The most obvious improvement to intimacy due to the treatment of sleep apnea comes from partners once more sleeping in the same bed.
However, that’s not where the benefits end. Sleep apnea often results in reduced libido. When sleep apnea is treated, normal libido levels return and you will find yourself initiating sex more often than you did before your sleep apnea was treated.
Improved Liver Function
People with sleep apnea are much more likely to suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease than people without sleep apnea. Luckily, this liver damage is reversible if your sleep apnea is treated quickly enough.
If you show abnormal results on liver function tests, please receive treatment for your sleep apnea before irreversible damage is done to your liver. Such damage will cause you to require a liver transplant in the future and make weight loss nearly impossible.
Mitigated Risks During Cosmetic and Medical Procedures
Most cosmetic and medical procedures are performed under general anesthesia. Unfortunately, your heart and lungs must be in tip-top shape to be put under general anesthesia or sedation.
If you have breathing problems, particularly when you lie on your back, you may have to go through a procedure without general anesthesia or sedation. Or, you may be told that you won’t qualify for the procedure until you get your sleep apnea under control.
Reversal of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a medical condition most commonly characterized by weight gain. However, there are several other symptoms of this disorder. For instance, it increases LDL levels while decreasing HDL levels. It can lead to type 2 diabetes, drastically increased visceral fat, increased waist circumference, hypertension and much more.
Treating sleep apnea reverses metabolic syndrome and eliminates all of its symptoms. Fortunately, nearly all the symptoms of metabolic syndrome increase the risk of sleep apnea. Therefore, you simultaneously treat sleep apnea and take steps to prevent it from recurring.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are two primary types of sleep apnea. These are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea. Below are the primary differences between the two conditions.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
By far, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat, which support the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, throat, and tongue, relax. Upon relaxation of the muscles, your airway narrows significantly or closes completely as you inhale. When you can’t take in enough oxygen, blood oxygen levels drop dramatically.
Your brain recognizes that it is suffocating because there is not enough oxygen in your blood. Therefore, it wakes you up so you can reopen your airway and it can get more oxygen. You may awaken so briefly that you don’t even remember it happening in the morning. However, it happens anywhere from five to 30 times per hour or more.
Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea is not nearly as common as OSA. It occurs when your breathing muscles do not receive communication from your brain to breathe. This means you don’t even try to breathe for short periods of time. People with this condition often awaken with shortness of breath. They also often struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Risk factors of central sleep apnea include having congestive heart failure, being male, being 50 or older, having a stroke and using opioids. Unfortunately, you can’t do much to mitigate your risk of this condition. However, there is a lot of hope for people with obstructive sleep apnea.
Risk Factors of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Some risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea can’t be controlled. For instance, men are two to three times more likely to develop this condition than women. Moreover, family history is a very strong indicator of developing OSA. Other uncontrollable risk factors for OSA include being over the age of 49 and having a thick neck and narrow airway.
However, there are several risk factors anyone can mitigate. These include:
- Excess weight
- Enlarged adenoids or tonsils
- Use of sedatives, alcohol or tranquilizers
- Uncontrolled allergies
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
There are several treatment options for sleep apnea. To determine the best method for you, please call us at Regional ENT Associates to book an appointment. We can quickly and accurately diagnose your condition and develop a customized treatment plan based on your health, personal preferences, lifestyle and unique needs.
Positive Airway Pressure Therapy
Positive airway pressure therapy is by far the most common treatment method for obstructive sleep apnea. Specifically, most people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help oxygen flow through their airway during sleep.
However, other clients benefit the most from a PPAP (proportional positive airway pressure) machine during sleep. This machine optimizes airway pressure to treat obstructive sleep apnea and is ideal for clients who suffer from fewer than 25 apneas or hypopneas per hour during sleep. Other forms of positive airway pressure therapy include BiPAP and VPAP.
Because obstructive sleep apnea is almost always caused by obesity, many clients prefer to lose weight rather than undergo a procedure to treat their obstructive sleep apnea. However, some clients don’t have the luxury of this choice because their obstructive sleep apnea is caused by something else.
If you can’t treat obstructive sleep apnea with lifestyle changes, you may consider a procedure to treat your condition. Depending on the cause of your condition, you may benefit from uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), radiofrequency volumetric tissue reduction (RFVTR), septoplasty, turbinate reduction and much more.
If you suffer from mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea, you may benefit from an oral appliance to treat your obstructive sleep apnea. Some clients can’t tolerate positive airway pressure therapy when they sleep. Others aren’t helped by the therapy. For those who can’t use the therapy and don’t want a corrective procedure, oral appliances are ideal.
While uncommon, these oral appliances are highly effective for the treatment of mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea. The two most effective forms of oral appliances are the tongue retaining device and the MAD (mandibular advancement device). The tongue retaining device is a splint that keeps the airway open by holding the tongue in place.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
Are you ready to regain your quality of life? Do you think you could benefit from sleep apnea treatment? It really can make a difference. To learn more, contact us today at Regional ENT Associates in Gallatin, TN to schedule your initial consultation. We can’t wait to meet you and develop a tailored treatment plan to regain your quality of life.