Snoring may be considered an annoying habit to those who share a room with you. However, if you experience pauses in your breath every 5 to 30 minutes per hour or more during sleep, or awake with a gasp, your snoring could be a telltale sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Obstructive sleep apnea will cause a decrease in energy and increase irritability because it affects your sleep. But the lack of oxygen to your brain several times a night has even graver consequences. According to Donna Arnett, Ph.D., chair and professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the incoming president of the American Heart Association, “One in five adults suffers from at least mild sleep apnea, and it afflicts more men than women.”(American Heart Association, March 14, 2017)”
The Effect of Reduced Oxygen
Several studies done by the National Institute of Health have shown that when your body is struggling for air, it goes into “fight or flight” mode, triggering adrenaline, cortisol, and additional glucose into the bloodstream, and elevating blood pressure. That’s a good thing when exercising, but not when this internal alarm goes off several times a night. When your fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on, the long-term effect of continued activation of the stress-response system disrupts almost all your body's processes. If allowed to continue, the cycle of struggling for breath and high blood pressure can lead to serious consequences, such as stroke and heart attack.
Reduce High Blood Pressure with Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you have high blood pressure and you’re snoring, chances are very good you have obstructive sleep apnea. Once you’ve been diagnosed by a sleep physician, the sooner your treat it, the sooner you’ll improve your overall health.
There are several different treatments that allow you to breathe easier at night, reducing your risk for sleep apnea and other complications. One of the simplest treatments is to use an oral appliance during sleep to reposition your jaw, keeping your airway unobstructed.
Obstructive sleep apnea and high blood pressure can be worrisome, but patients who are successfully treated often find improvement in their symptoms. Take worry away and let Dr. Gloria Stern help you take the next steps in improving your sleep and your health.