If your family and friends are constantly complaining about your loud snoring, don’t ignore them. Snoring is often the first indication you have an underlying sleep disorder, known as sleep apnea.
At West Houston Surgical Associates, Christopher Reilly, MD, FACS, specializes in diagnosing sleep apnea and can provide guidance for how best to treat the condition.
Understanding sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes you to stop breathing briefly when you are asleep. In obstructive sleep apnea, the disruption of breathing occurs because of the relaxing of soft tissues at the back of your throat.
While anyone can develop sleep apnea, your risks increase if you are:
- Have large tonsils or tongue
- Have a family history of sleep apnea
Men may be at a higher risk for sleep apnea than women, especially if they are over 40.
Recognizing sleep apnea
Unfortunately, you may be the last to know you have sleep apnea because the symptoms of the condition are most apparent while you’re sleeping. Your partner or family may point out symptoms like loud snoring or gasping for breath.
However, you may also notice symptoms yourself that are associated with sleep apnea, such as:
- Mood changes
- Daytime sleepiness
- Frequent headaches
- Difficulties concentrating
Any of these issues should motivate you to seek a sleep study to confirm whether they relate to sleep apnea or another underlying condition.
Dangers of untreated sleep apnea
A consistent routine of high-quality, undisrupted sleep is vital for overall health. If you have sleep apnea, you typically wake up several times throughout the night, even if you aren’t aware of it.
A lack of good sleep, especially on a regular basis, not only interferes with how you feel each day, it can also be a contributing factor to a variety of chronic, and potentially dangerous, health conditions.
If you are overweight or obese and have sleep apnea, your risk factors for long-term health complications increase significantly. These complications include:
- Heart attack
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Metabolic disorders
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
To lower your risks for these and other diseases, you should focus on receiving treatment for your sleep apnea and improving your overall health through a good diet and exercise plan.
If obesity is limiting what you can do to lower sleep apnea-related health complications, Dr. Reilly can determine if you’re a candidate for a medically supervised weight loss program or for bariatric surgery.
Other profound benefits of weight loss
Maintaining a healthy weight is vital for good health and longevity. In addition to treating and preventing sleep apnea, losing weight can reduce your short-term and long-term risk factors for number of chronic health conditions and diseases.
If you’re struggling to lose weight on your own or if you need guidance to maintain your weight loss results, Dr. Reilly works closely with you to determine what you need to find success. Whether you need bariatric surgery or ongoing support for making necessary lifestyle and diet changes, he tailors your care to help you achieve your ultimate weight loss goals.
If you need help losing weight to improve the results of your sleep apnea treatment, schedule a consultation at West Houston Bariatrics today, online or by phone.