Medical Conditions Associated With Sleep Apnea

couple in bed with woman snoring and man covering his ears with pillowsBrunswick Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine in Somerset, New Jersey, specializes in sleep disorders. Our medical team utilizes the latest medical advances to put you on your way to a healthier, more comfortable life. One common sleep disorder we treat is obstructive sleep apnea.

Before beginning any treatment, we perform a variety of tests to determine a sleep apnea diagnosis. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring and excessive sleepiness during waking hours. Left untreated, sleep apnea could lead to potentially life-threatening medical conditions.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that disrupts your breathing while you sleep. You may stop breathing numerous times during the night, which means your brain and the rest of your body may not get enough oxygen. Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain fails to signal your muscles to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common form, caused by a blockage of your airway, usually when the soft tissue at the back of your throat collapses while you’re relaxed during sleep. Adults, adolescents, and children can all be affected by sleep apnea.

Health Issues Associated With Sleep Apnea

Untreated sleep apnea may cause poor performance during waking hours, which can lead to underachievement at work and school. Daytime sleepiness can also lead to motor vehicle crashes and other dangerous situations. Other risks to your health include:

  • High blood pressure, or hypertension, may be worsened by sleep apnea because your body gets stressed from being constantly awakened during the night. When you can’t breathe well, the level of oxygen in your blood also drops, which may exacerbate your blood pressure problems.
  • Coronary heart disease, heart attack, and angina pectoris are more likely due to lowered oxygen and/or the stress of frequently waking up. Sleep apnea disrupts how your body takes in oxygen, so it’s difficult for your brain to control how blood flows in your arteries and brain.
  • Stroke risks also increase due to lowered oxygen in the blood flowing to your brain. Stroke can lead to severe disability or death. Recovery after a stroke might also be delayed due to obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Type 2 diabetes is more common among people with an obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis. Obesity, which is sometimes a side effect of not getting enough restful sleep, is also linked with greater instances of diabetes. Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea may lower your blood sugar levels, which could lower your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Weight gain due to sleep apnea is common, and the condition makes it harder to slim down. Being overweight can cause fatty deposits in your neck that block breathing at night, exacerbating your condition. Sleep apnea also releases a hormone that makes you crave sweets and carbs, which your body has a difficult time converting to energy due to continual tiredness, causing further weight gain.
  • Premature death can also be an increased likelihood if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Middle-aged men tend to be at greater risk due to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease intensified by sleep apnea.

Other conditions that may be worsened by sleep apnea include depression, headaches, adult asthma, acid reflux, and ADHD. Many medical conditions may improve with sleep apnea treatment.

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis And Treatment

Our health care team takes your history and performs an exam to begin a sleep apnea diagnosis. We may discuss spending a night in our accredited upscale sleep center for testing. We evaluate eye movement, muscle activity, respiratory effort, heart rate, airflow, and blood oxygen levels through leads attached to your body. Once we determine whether you have a sleep disorder and how severe it is, we discuss potential treatment. The most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure device or CPAP.

New Jersey’s Sleep Disorder Specialists

Brunswick Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine is a full-service sleep center accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and led by Dr. Lawrence Davanzo, a fellow in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine with 18 years’ experience.

No matter how severe your sleep apnea or other sleep disorder, we’re prepared to provide the personalized care you need to effectively treat your condition. We believe treating the whole person, not just the symptoms, through a multidisciplinary, holistic approach to patient care. Contact us at 732-246-3066 or visit us at our Somerset or West Orange, New Jersey, locations to begin your sleep apnea diagnosis today.