Sleep apnea is a serious, life-threatening condition. However, many people who develop severe sleep apnea don't even know that they have it. If it's been suggested to you that you could have sleep apnea or if your doctor has recently diagnosed you with it, you may have a lot of questions. This guide will explain some of the most frequently asked among them.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that, for most people, only impacts them while they're asleep. Sleep apnea can lead to chronic exhaustion, fatigue, and in extreme cases, brain and heart damage. The reason that sleep apnea is so bad for you is that it prevents you from getting enough oxygen in your sleep.
While you're sleeping, the muscles in your throat relax. If you have a defect of the throat or are carrying extra weight, your windpipe may partially or fully collapse while you're fully at rest and lying down. Every once in awhile, your body will forcibly wake itself up because it's starving for air, but as soon as it catches up for the oxygen it needs, you fall back asleep and the whole process starts all over again.
Sleep apnea is extremely dangerous because the body needs oxygen constantly. If you're not getting enough, your brain and heart can starve for oxygen, potentially causing brain damage or heart disease. Unfortunately, many people don't realize that they have sleep apnea for a long time, increasing the risk of experiencing these problems.
What Are Your Treatment Options?
The good news is that treatment for sleep apnea is quite effective and accessible for the vast majority of people. Most doctors recommend using a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea. A CPAP machine isn't a cure, but it can keep symptoms at bay and help you rest peacefully.
CPAP machines include a mask attached to a tube that is placed over your nose and mouth when you sleep. This tube funnels pressurized air through the mask, which forces your airway to stay fully open while you're asleep. This way your body can completely relax and still get the oxygen it needs.
Sleep apnea is something that should never be ignored or neglected. If your doctor even thinks that you have this condition, you should talk to them about getting a CPAP machine. CPAPs are typically covered by health insurance, so you may not even need to pay anything out of pocket. Talk to a doctor and get help right away.