When sleep apnea goes untreated, it can be detrimental to your health and well-being. Seeking treatment is key to improving your health and feeling rested. So, how much do you think you know about the signs of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?
Many people often associate OSA with loud snoring, but it is more than that. OSA is a form of sleep-disordered breathing that, when left untreated, can increase your risk for developing more serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease. However, the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea go far beyond just snoring.
Here are some signs to look out for:
Headaches. When you suffer from a headache in the morning, it is a common sign of sleep apnea. OSA leads to diminished oxygen levels in the blood and to the brain, which is often associated with headaches. And in women, it can be more common than you realize because their symptoms are not as noticeable as men. Women might not snore loudly, but they might be more prone to mood shifts and headaches.
Daytime sleepiness. Because OSA interrupts your normal breathing, it also interferes with your sleep. Throughout the night, difficulty breathing and episodes of apnea can cause you to wake up over and over again throughout the night, never really getting that good quality sleep. And while you might not remember waking up frequently throughout the night, you will feel it in the morning when you are fatigued and more tired than when you went to bed. This can negatively affect your performance and quality of life.
Poor memory. In addition to bad concentration, OSA can also cause your memory to take a turn for the worst. Verbal and visuospatial memory are often the most affected by this. And changes in these memories can cause you to struggle with coming up with a word or you might forget directions to somewhere you just discovered. If your OSA is left untreated, it might even be linked to Alzheimer’s disease. So taking that extra step to treat your sleep apnea is key in preserving your memory for the long run.
High blood pressure. If your blood pressure rose to unhealthy levels recently, and out of nowhere, it might be due to sleep apnea. There is a strong link between OSA and high blood pressure. To add to that, high blood pressure can lead to hypertension, which then elevates your risk for heart disease or stroke. By treating your OSA, it can potentially bring your blood pressure down, which, in turn, lowers your risk for heart disease.
Schedule an appointment at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia today to learn more about sleep apnea and the risks associated with it.