There’s no denying the rejuvenating effects of a good night’s sleep: Quality shut-eye makes you happier, more productive, and more satisfied with your life. Conversely, poor sleep — especially several nights in a row of poor sleep — makes you groggy, unfocused, irritable, and prone to food cravings, among other unpleasant consequences.
If you can pinpoint the culprit behind low-quality (or complete lack of) sleep, that’s great — then you can make lifestyle changes or seek medical care based on what you know. But if you can’t identify the cause, not only are you left struggling with the side effects of no sleep, but you have to deal with the frustration of not knowing why you can’t sleep.
This brings us to good and bad news. The good: There’s a common culprit behind this phenomenon. The bad: You might have sleep apnea.
But, wait, there’s more good news — if it turns out you do have sleep apnea, the primary care doctors at Low Testosterone & Weight Loss Center can help you find relief.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to momentarily stop breathing during sleep. This can happen just a few times per night, or up to hundreds of times per night, depending on the severity of the sleep apnea.
There are three types of sleep apnea — obstructive, central, and complex — but the result of all three is the same. During sleep, your brain and body become deprived of oxygen, which results in the characteristic loud snoring and sometimes choking that comes with sleep apnea.
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
It’s impossible to truly determine whether you have sleep apnea without proper medical testing, but you can look out for a few signs and symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea:
- You never wake up refreshed, despite spending 7-9 hours in bed
- Your bed partner says you snore loudly and often
- Your bed partner says you sometimes stop breathing when you sleep
- You sometimes wake up abruptly during sleep, but don’t know why
- You wake up during sleep and feel like you’ve been holding your breath
- You feel fatigued during the day
- You experience daytime headaches or migraines
- You wake up often to use the bathroom during sleep
If you experience those symptoms in combination with any of these lifestyle factors, your chance of sleep apnea is even bigger:
- You smoke or vape
- You drink alcohol within a few hours of bedtime
- You sleep on your back
- You’re overweight
What happens if sleep apnea isn’t treated?
Some people think sleep apnea is harmless — it’s often described as “just snoring.” But sleep apnea is so much more dangerous than just snoring. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a range of medical complications, including:
Workplace injuries: Lack of sleep caused by sleep apnea can impair physical and mental performance, leading to accidents on the job, especially if you work in a manual labor capacity.
Automobile accidents: Restless sleep can impair judgement and make it difficult to operate a vehicle, leading to car accidents.
Cardiovascular complications: Sleep apnea may increase your risk of arterial diseases, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
Metabolic complications: Sleep apnea can increase the chance that you develop Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and glucose intolerance.
Depression: Constant lack of sleep can lead to mood disorders, particularly depression.
You can even die from sleep apnea.
If you think you’re suffering from sleep apnea, contact your primary care doctor right away to schedule an appointment. At Low Testosterone & Weight Loss Center, our primary care doctors can determine whether you have sleep apnea and advise you on the best treatment options.
Call one of our clinics in Allen and Frisco, Texas, or request your appointment online.