ENT Center of Austin - Doctor's Blog

What We Know About Sleep Apnea

Imagine this: You're sleeping and your breathings pauses every-so-often. That's normal. But if you have sleep apnea, this interruption lasts for 10 seconds or sometimes even minutes. In the span of an hour, it could occur 30 times. After years, this could put a bunch of stress on various systems that make-up your body.

Sleep Apnea Guy

The thing about it, you probably don't even know you have it. You're off in dreamland. The only way you may find out you have sleep apnea is if somebody sits there and watches you sleep. That's an act of love, right?
The symptoms may hang around for years or decades. If you're finding that you're always groggy at work, shuffling slowly around the house, it could be that you are exhibiting warning signs that the problem exists.
Experts say this can strike not only adults, but kids as well.


There's More
Put another way, what you'll experience is somewhat troubling:
•    Daytime fatigue
•    A slower reaction time
•    Vision problems

At the doctor's office, you'll be examined using “standard test batteries.” What the specialist is trying to determine is what parts of your brain are being affected by a bout of sleep apnea. To complicate matters, these tests have shown different reactions that occur in various parts of your gray matter. Here's what we mean by that:

•    There's a part of your thinker that's basically known as the executive department. That's where the noggin plans and carries-out tasks.
•    Another portion handles your attention span. It's not weird to daydream in a boring meeting or a rambling conversation. But if you're having a hard time putting the pieces together, processing information or can't seem to focus, you may be a redneck. Sorry that's another joke. We meant to say you may have sleep apnea doing it's magic when you're awake.
•    That clump of brain stuff which controls learning and memory goes on the fritz.
•    Find yourself getting increasingly testy? Losing the drive you used to have? Acting like a diva or a diver (what do they call a male diva?)? Moody? That's a sign.
•    Believe it or not, another symptom of sleep apnea is sleep paralysis. Translated: You begin to fear falling asleep. Now you've got insomnia. Resulting from this double-punch, you may fall into a deep, dark funk AKA depression.
•    This one scares us the most. Sleep apnea could likewise lead to screwing-up the functions of your liver -- leading to a host of fatty liver diseases.
•    Sleep apnea has all of the above factors, so it's not an easy thing to put your finger on. You may not know you have it and when you go to a regular doctor, there's a chance it might be misdiagnosed. Other non-professional folks (you!) simply ignore the symptoms.

ENT Center of Austin urges you that if you have one or more of the issues listed above, make an appointment with us. Get back to a nice, long restful sleep. A well-rested person is a happy one.

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