Sleep Apnea

The clinical manifestations of sleep apnea are related to obstruction of the upper airway, fragmented sleep, and the respiratory and cardiovascular consequences of disoriented breathing. Excessive daytime tiredness is a key feature of sleep apnea resulting from disrupted sleep. You may find that you frequently fall asleep during the day while driving, working, reading and watching television. Performing activities related to transportation or the use of machinery and heavy equipment can put both the patient and others at significant risk of injury. Chronic daytime sleepiness also leads to poor work performance and decreased productivity. Snoring, ranging in severity from mild to extremely loud, is also a common trait of those suffering with sleep apnea. The partners of people with sleep apnea may witness gasping, choking or periods of apnea, with repeated arousals through the night. In many cases these symptoms are significant enough that the partner sleeps in another room. When questioned in the morning the patient is usually unaware of the frequency of arousals. Other complaints include a feeling of not being rested despite a full night of sleep, dry mouth, morning headaches, absence of dreams, fatigue, decreased libido and symptoms of depression.

The cardiovascular consequences of sleep apnea may include systemic hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, and cerebral vascular accidents, all of which lead to a higher mortality rate than in the general population. Clearly, sleep apnea can be a debilitating and potentially life-threatening condition. Thus, both proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment are important.
If you are experiencing similar symptoms please ask Dr. Williamson about alternatives that might help you sleep better and improve your general overall health.

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