Sleep apnea is a serious health condition and if it’s ignored, it can lead to severe health problems. Whether you were recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, think you might have sleep apnea, or have suffered for years, you might still have questions about the condition. That’s okay! At Firouzian Sleep Wellness in Columbus, we’re here to act as your sleep apnea resource and help answer all your questions. We’ve compiled answers to your top questions below. If we didn’t answer any, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information by calling (614) 683-4640.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes one to stop breathing during sleep. There are two different types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea – The most common type of sleep apnea, occurs when obstructions occur in the airway usually because the throat muscles relax.
- Central Sleep Apnea – this less common type of sleep apnea occurs when the brain doesn’t send the correct signals to the muscles responsible for breathing.
In very rare cases, someone might have complex sleep apnea syndrome which is when someone has both types of sleep apnea—obstructive and central.
Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Yes! If sleep apnea goes untreated and uncontrolled, it can be a serious danger to your health. Untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart attack, obesity, and shorten your life. Additionally, it can make you sleep-deprived to the point where you can fall asleep driving or operating machinery which can result in serious injury or death.
Is Sleep Apnea Genetic?
Yes, it can be. Research indicates that nearly 40% of obstructive sleep apnea cases can be attributed to genetics. The other 60% are attributed to lifestyle factors or environment.
How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?
To find out if you have sleep apnea, you will need to take a sleep test to receive an official diagnosis. The sleep test will monitor your heart rate, oxygen levels, and more while you sleep, and then a physician will review your results. The test will show whether or not you stop breathing during the night and how many of these episodes occur. Based on your results, you will receive your diagnosis. From there, you will receive a prescription to get sleep apnea treatment such as CPAP or oral appliance therapy.
If you’re not sure whether or not you should take a sleep test, we recommend looking at the symptoms of sleep apnea. If one or more apply to you, we encourage you to visit our dental office for a consultation. From there, we can refer you to a home sleep testing service to conduct your sleep test at home.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Daytime sleepiness
- Coughing, choking, or gasping for air during sleep
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Night sweats
- Morning headaches
- Memory problems
- Low mood
- Lack of motivation
- Restless sleep
- Clenching or grinding teeth
Can Sleep Apnea Be Cured?
In some cases, yes. If the cause of sleep apnea can be addressed and resolved, sleep apnea can be cured. For example, if someone develops sleep apnea as a result of gaining weight, losing weight can potentially cure their condition. Getting sleep apnea treatment such as oral appliance therapy is the first step in treating and potentially curing your condition.
Does Sleep Apnea Cause Weight Gain?
Yes! Although weight gain can cause sleep apnea, sleep apnea can also contribute to weight gain. This is because sleep apnea can affect your hunger hormones. Sleep deprivation can increase ghrelin and decrease leptin levels. As a result, this makes you feel more hungry all the time and causes sugary and starchy cravings. The hunger hormone disruption in combination with decreased energy levels can make diet and exercise a very low priority and thus result in weight gain.
Can Sleep Apnea Cause High Blood Pressure?
Yes! When you stop breathing during sleep and your brain wakes you up to start breathing again, blood pressure increases to get oxygen to the brain. As a result, untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure.
Can You Have Sleep Apnea Without Snoring?
Yes. It is possible to have sleep apnea and not snore. There are many other symptoms of sleep apnea you might experience.
Can Sleep Apnea Kill You?
Yes. If sleep apnea is left untreated, your risk for a heart attack, stroke, and premature death increases significantly.
How To Get Tested For Sleep Apnea?
If you think you might have sleep apnea and would like to get tested, please schedule an appointment at Firouzian Sleep Wellness. Dr. Firouzian will evaluate your symptoms and refer you to a home sleep testing service for diagnosis.
How To Treat Sleep Apnea?
If your sleep test confirms your diagnosis of sleep apnea, you will return to our dental office to explore our different treatment options. We will create a custom treatment plan made specifically for you. It may involve oral appliance therapy, the DNA appliance, and myofunctional therapy.
Get Sleep Apnea Treatment in Columbus Today
If you’re ready to treat your sleep apnea or learn more about home sleep tests, please contact our office to book an appointment. We can help you get diagnosed and set you up with a treatment that improves your quality of life and reduces health risks.