Sleep apnea is a severe condition that can significantly impact your overall health. For example, it increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, pre-diabetes or diabetes, and depression.
It also can cause other dangerous health problems, such as early-onset Alzheimer’s and dementia. Please continue reading to learn more about these startling details concerning sleep apnea and its treatment.
Tonsils and adenoids
Your tonsils (two small round lumps of tissue in the back of your mouth) and adenoids (larger glands behind your nose) work like lymph nodes to trap germs. They also help protect you against infection and keep body fluids in balance.
When these glands get infected (tonsillitis or adenotonsillar disease), your immune system sends white blood cells to the area and fights off the germs. However, when they become infected repeatedly, the best sleep apnea doctor in Houston may recommend the removal of your tonsils and adenoids to stop the infections or to treat breathing problems such as sleep apnea.
If your child snores and stops breathing often during sleep, they may have enlarged tonsils or adenoids causing the problem. In addition, children who get recurring infections despite antibiotics or who have obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, a disease that can lead to long-term heart and lung issues, may benefit from having their tonsils or adenoids surgically removed.
People often spend a third of their lives in bed, and how they sleep can significantly impact their health. Whether on your back, side, stomach, or fetal position, your sleep posture affects how you feel and function throughout the day.
Doctors recommend sleeping on your side to reduce snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. It’s also helpful for reducing acid reflux and helping to ward off neck pain.
If you snore or stop breathing while you sleep, your doctor may diagnose you with sleep apnea. It happens when your airway narrows or completely closes off, making breathing difficult.
Your neck size can affect your risk for sleep apnea. For example, people who have a more significant neck often snore more.
Your doctor can assess whether you have sleep apnea and how serious it is by measuring the diameter of your neck. For example, if your neck size is 17 inches or higher for men and 16 inches or more for women, you could be at risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
Alcohol can affect your sleep by disrupting your time in REM (rapid eye movement) and deep sleep. It is essential because REM sleep is the stage that helps your brain feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Drinking too much can make getting a good night’s sleep challenging, so avoiding drinking close to bedtime is a good idea. You can also reduce your drinking by reducing the number of drinks you have each night.
Many people don’t realize it, but smoking can exacerbate the severity of your sleep apnea. In addition, it can worsen your sleep breathing problems and even trigger comorbid respiratory illnesses like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, asthma, and lung cancer.
Smoking can also interfere with the body’s natural immune response to inflammation in the upper airways. As a result, it can cause your throat and nose to swell, blocking the airways and making breathing difficult.