Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

Snoring is something you’ll likely experience more than once in your life, and in most cases, it’s completely harmless. However, if your snoring disrupts your sleep or causes you to stop breathing for periods of time, it could be due to a condition called sleep apnea. If you’re overweight, it can be very dangerous to your overall health.

At Snow Bariatric Center, located in Fort Worth and Flower Mound, Texas, our team helps you understand how your weight affects your sleep apnea. Dr. Robert Snow, our expert bariatric surgeon, offers many different avenues of treatment when obesity is ruling your life and contributing to medical conditions, such as sleep apnea.

Types of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a type of sleep problem that can be very dangerous to your health. This sleep disorder is identified by periods of apnea while you sleep, which simply means you stop breathing for short periods.

There are a few different forms of sleep apnea, but the three most common are:

Obstructive sleep apnea

This type of sleep apnea happens when the tissues and muscles relax in your throat, obstructing your airway for short periods of time. Obstructive sleep apnea is probably the most well-known form of sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea happens differently than obstructive sleep apnea. This form of sleep apnea is caused by a problem in your brain, which doesn’t send the proper signals to your muscles that control your breathing.

Complex sleep apnea 

This form of sleep apnea is especially dangerous because it occurs when you have both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. Basically, your brain doesn’t send the proper signals to your breathing muscles, and your airway becomes obstructed. This type needs to be treated very quickly to avoid complications.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of sleep apnea vary, depending on what type of the disorder you have. Obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea present similar symptoms, which makes it difficult to figure out which one you have.

Regardless of which type of sleep apnea you have, it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms so you can seek help early. A few of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea are:

Unfortunately, one of the tell-tale signs of sleep apnea isn’t something you’ll know on your own. With sleep apnea, you stop breathing for short periods while you’re sleeping, which is usually reported by whomever else is in the room with you while you’re asleep.

Is sleep apnea really dangerous?

The answer is yes, sleep apnea is a very real danger to your health. Not only can this condition lead to other health problems, it can also worsen the issues you already have. This is especially true if you’re obese and already at risk for health conditions like:

All of these conditions, paired with untreated sleep apnea, can lead to critical medical problems, and in some cases, sudden cardiac arrest. 

So why is sleep apnea so dangerous? Prolonged and untreated sleep apnea leads to low oxygen levels, also known as hypoxia, throughout your body. When your oxygen levels dip too low, your body goes into panic mode and begins a fight-or-flight response. This response causes your heart to beat faster than normal and your arteries to narrow.

Dr. Snow recognizes the hazardousness of this condition and helps you when your weight is one of the key factors in your sleep apnea diagnosis. Dr. Snow offers several weight loss options to help you get healthier and prevent sleep apnea down the road.

If you’re overweight and suffering from sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to  call one of our convenient offices in Texas today. You can also request an appointment online using the booking tool on our website.

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