A major warning sign of sleep apnea is waking up gasping for breath during the night. Not only can this be a frightening experience, but sleep loss on a regular basis can also interfere with your health.
At OakBend Medical Group, our experienced bariatric surgeons, Steven M. Thomas, MD, Christopher Reilly, MD, FASC, and Genna Lubrano, MD, offer diagnostic evaluations if you have symptoms of sleep apnea. We can also discuss your options for treating the condition to improve your quality of sleep.
What to know about sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing periodically while you sleep. The temporary pause in breathing is what prompts your body to wake up during the night.
There are three types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your throat muscles relax when you’re sleeping and block the flow of air.
Central sleep apnea
Central sleep apnea develops when there’s dysfunction in the signals that travel from your brain to your breathing muscles.
Complex sleep apnea
Complex sleep apnea describes a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea conditions.
Your risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, increases if you’re over 40, are overweight, and have a family history of the sleep disorder.
Symptoms of sleep apnea
In addition to waking up in the night gasping for air, obstructive sleep apnea causes loud snoring. You may not be aware of your snoring, but your partner or family may complain about it.
Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Sore throat
- Memory problems
- Morning headaches
Waking up too often can cause sleep deprivation that also leads to irritability and mood swings.
Our providers at OakBend Medical Group recommend that you get an evaluation of your symptoms without delay, so you can get the high-quality sleep you need to function. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart complications, and type 2 diabetes.
Treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea
Your initial treatment plan for obstructive sleep apnea includes lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, following a sleep schedule, and avoiding stimulants before bedtime. Our providers may also recommend nonsurgical weight loss strategies like diet changes and getting daily exercise to help you shed extra pounds.
You might also benefit from the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine that delivers supplemental oxygen through a facemask you wear during sleep.
If these strategies aren’t working well, our providers may recommend surgery to remove excess tissue from the back of your throat or to correct a deviated septum in your nose that obstructs breathing.
When weight challenges contribute to your sleep apnea symptoms, we can determine if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery. Our surgeons offer several types of bariatric surgeries including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and gastric balloon procedures.
If you’re tired of waking up struggling to breathe, call OakBend Medical Group in Richmond, Texas, to schedule a diagnostic evaluation for sleep apnea or book an appointment online today.