Do you feel exhausted, even after a “good night’s sleep?”
Sleep apnea not only causes numerous life-threatening long-term health complications, but it could also be affecting your day-to-day life right now. Many with undiagnosed sleep apnea will put its immediate symptoms like tiredness down to “old age,” failing to see a serious problem. The day-to-day impacts of sleep apnea are – if untreated – incredibly concerning. From depression to an increased risk of being involved in a traffic accident, if you or a loved one has sleep apnea, you need to be aware of the potential daily dangers.
Here are three ways sleep apnea may be affecting your life right now:
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Firstly, sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes breathing to stop and start during sleep continually.
Sleep apnea refers to a range of disorders, but the most common is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), when your throat muscles repeatedly relax and block airways during sleep. When the soft tissues in your throat, such as your tongue and soft palate, temporarily relax, your airway is narrowed or closed, and breathing is momentarily cut off.
The Effects of Sleep Apnea Day-to-Day
Sleep apnea ruins your sleep, so it’s no surprise that exhaustion is one way it will impact your day-to-day life. The chances are, if you have OSA, you will feel excessively sleepy during the day time. This can make regular tasks challenging, with more complicated work feeling almost impossible. Sadly, obstructive sleep apnea often leads to job loss.
Many people with undiagnosed sleep apnea often attribute this to advancing age or just slowing down, rather than the actual underlying cause. If you find yourself dozing off while reading, watching television, or even talking on the phone, then please check to see if you may have undiagnosed sleep apnea.
Depression and Memory Loss
Depression is common among those who have obstructive sleep apnea, especially for untreated OSA.
Increasingly, people are being treated for depression before sleep apnea is diagnosed as the cause. Sleep apnea can also contribute to memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and slower reaction times, all symptoms shared with depression. As such, it is vital you see a doctor about sleep apnea if you suspect you or a loved one may have it.
Because depression and memory loss are side effects, there are several secondary social issues sleep apnea can cause. Depression makes it increasingly difficult to maintain friendships and relationships. Someone with OSA may feel less likely to take part in any physical activities because of tiredness.
And sleep apnea may lead to relationship trouble. Because of the loud snoring and restlessness associated with the condition, partners often choose to sleep in different bedrooms.
Risk on the Road
Sleep apnea can also increase common risks, including the likelihood of being involved in a traffic collision. According to a 2007 study, people with OSA are up to ten times more likely to have a motor vehicle accident due to sleepiness, sometimes with fatal consequences. There is a track record of drivers with undiagnosed Obstructive Sleep Apnea being involved in fatal collisions.
Moreover, those who knowingly drive while tired may be at risk for civil and criminal liability. To avoid these potential consequences, it’s vital you follow up if you suspect you have sleep apnea.
Check If You Have Sleep Apnea
The effects of sleep apnea can be life-altering. It’s essential to get diagnosed as soon as possible. There are ways to check if you have sleep apnea.
Has your partner noticed you:
- Making gasping, snorting, or choking noises?
- Waking up a lot?
- Snoring loudly?
- Your breathing stopping and starting?
During the day, have you noticed you:
- Feel very tired?
- Find it hard to concentrate?
- Have mood swings?
- Have a headache when you wake up?
Sleep apnea can be severe if not diagnosed and treated. We can do sleep studies to check your symptoms and offer solutions.
How Advanced Homecare Can Help You
Since opening as a small team of three back in 2005, our mission at Advanced Homecare Online is to provide the very best sleep apnea treatments for our patients.
We specialize in one-on-one relationships. Our office team members and Patient Care Instructors are committed to educating patients about their condition and understanding each patient’s specific needs.
In short, we’re proud of what we do! Learn how we can help treat your sleep apnea now!