Sleep apnea literally takes your breath away. While you sleep, the disorder repeatedly interrupts your breathing and reduces oxygen to your body and brain. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, diabetes and depression. “Sleep apnea is a common – and serious – condition,” says
Bradley K. Bittle, MD, FCCP, D-ABSM, pulmonologist/sleep medicine physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “If you snore loudly at night or feel extremely sleepy during the day, you should not ignore your potential for sleep apnea. The disorder is too dangerous not to treat.”
Seek medical attention if you suffer any of the following symptoms: loud snoring, breathing cessation during sleep or abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath. Awakening with a sore throat or headache is another sign.
Typical treatments include weight loss and a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine as well as oral appliances.