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You Could Have Sleep Apnea and Not Know It

Do you often wake up feeling tired and groggy, even after a seemingly full night's sleep? Or perhaps your partner has mentioned that you snore loudly or experience moments where you stop breathing during the night. If so, you might be experiencing sleep apnea without even realizing it.

If you believe you might be struggling with sleep apnea, board-certified otolaryngologist Mathew W. Shawl, MD, is here to help. Located in New York City, Dr. Shawl specializes in the management of sleep apnea and can determine if your breathing issues are due to an underlying nose or throat issue. 

In the meantime, we'll shed light on this common yet often undiagnosed sleep disorder. Discover the signs, symptoms, and potential consequences of untreated sleep apnea, and learn how seeking proper diagnosis and treatment can transform your sleep and overall well-being.

What is sleep apnea? 

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes interrupted breathing during sleep, and it comes in two main types: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Central Sleep Apnea. OSA, the most prevalent form, is usually multifactorial.  Patient’s weight, nasal conditions causing congestion or blockage of air flow and throat anatomy can all be factors.   On the other hand, Central Sleep Apnea is less common and happens when your brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea 

Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed, as many individuals are unaware of the symptoms. Here are some common signs that you might have sleep apnea:

Loud snoring 

Frequent and loud snoring is one of the hallmark symptoms of sleep apnea, particularly in OSA.

Choking or gasping 

Individuals with sleep apnea may experience choking or gasping for air during sleep.

Daytime sleepiness 

Persistent fatigue and drowsiness during the day, even after a full night's sleep, can be indicative of sleep apnea.

Morning headaches 

Frequent morning headaches can result from the interrupted breathing patterns during the night.

Consequences of untreated sleep apnea 

Ignoring sleep apnea can have serious consequences on your overall health and quality of life. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to:

Increased risk of cardiovascular problems 

Sleep apnea is associated with hypertension, heart disease, and strokes.

Worsened mental health 

Chronic sleep deprivation from sleep apnea can contribute to depression and anxiety.

Impaired daytime functioning 

Fatigue and daytime sleepiness can impact your work performance and increase the risk of accidents.

Strained relationships 

Sleep apnea can disrupt your partner's sleep and strain relationships due to loud snoring and breathing interruptions.

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, consult with Dr. Shawl right away for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Treatment options include CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) masks, oral appliances, and lifestyle changes like better sleep habits and weight management to improve symptoms.

Don't let sleep apnea go untreated, as it can have a significant impact on your health and well-being. Take the first step towards better sleep and overall health by addressing your sleep apnea concerns and seeking appropriate treatment options today. 

If you have more questions about sleep apnea symptoms, contact the office of Matthew W. Shawl, MD, to book a consultation today and get the accurate diagnosis, personalized treatment plan, and long-term relief you deserve.

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