Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder. It has wide-ranging implications for your long-term health, which is why it is so important to seek diagnosis and treatment from a doctor. There are certainly lifestyle changes you can take on independently, but it is best to do so as part of an overall treatment plan. Attempting to address sleep apnea on your own could leave you at risk for the following sleep apnea complications:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep deprivation
- Chronic headaches
- Dangerous daytime sleepiness
Effective treatment supervised by an experienced pulmonologist like Dr. Bowen can help you avoid these serious repercussions of untreated sleep apnea. Depending on individual circumstances, the doctor may recommend a nighttime breathing device to provide oxygen or to maintain an open airway.
Additionally, Dr. Bowen may recommend lifestyle modifications to reduce sleep apnea episodes:
- Healthy weight loss (excess fat may be contributing to a blocked airway while you sleep)
- Increasing exercise and physical activity to improve sleep and lung strength
- Don’t smoke
- Decrease or eliminate consumption of alcohol, especially right before bed
- Try sleeping in a different position than normal (i.e. try to sleep on your side instead of your back)
Oftentimes, these remedies in combination with professional medical treatment by Dr. Bowen will reduce or eliminate episodes of apnea throughout the night.
Call our practice if you (or a spouse/partner who shares your bedroom) are noticing any of the following sleep apnea signs and symptoms:
- Gasping during the night
- Loud, frequent snoring
- Multiple awakenings during the night
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Trouble concentrating
- Impaired memory
- Trouble staying awake
Oftentimes it is someone who lives with the sleep apnea sufferer who notices the warning signs. They may hear you gasp or choke during the night, or they may be aware of your multiple awakenings even if you don’t realize how often you are waking up in the night. If you have any cause for concern, a consultation can help you get to the bottom of any symptoms.