A Threat to Your Daily Life
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious condition that can lead to fatal health issues. While that in itself is worrying, it can also bring your quality of life down overall. Though you may not realize sleep apnea affects your life on a daily basis, it can have a huge impact.
While serious health conditions are worrying, you could be suffering every day and not even realize it. That’s part of the reason sleep apnea dentists like Dr. Scott Clinton in Waxahachie, TX emphasize the importance of seeking treatment.
Learn about some of the ways sleep apnea can affect your daily life.
1. You Feel Exhausted All the Time
When you have OSA, your airway becomes blocked while you sleep. This leads you to wake up numerous times throughout the night, even if you don’t remember it. The result is your body and mind are affected by sleep deprivation and you’ll feel fatigued.
Due to this, you might have trouble conjuring up the energy to keep up with your work, family, or personal hobbies. It’s also common for those with OSA to fall asleep in the middle of another activity like reading, watching a movie, or eating.
Many people attribute these feelings to age or stress when they really could be a sign of a treatable health issue. Treatment like that offered by Dr. David Blaustein for sleep apnea allows you to sleep throughout the night, so you can feel well-rested the next day.
2. You Have Lower Productivity at Work
One consequence of feeling tired every day is that you may not be able to work as well as you once did. You may have difficulty concentrating on what you’re doing and lose the ability to perform complex tasks, often making mistakes when you do.
Research indicates that people with sleep apnea are more likely to lose their jobs involuntarily — not just once either, but multiple times. Continued unemployment can contribute to more distress in life and additional health problems.
3. You’re at a Higher Risk for Accidents
Being tired can not only put your livelihood in danger but your life itself, as well as the lives of others. If you’re having trouble concentrating while you drive, you could be a hazard on the road. In fact, researchers say that OSA significantly increases your risk of being in a crash.
The effects of OSA can slow down your reaction times, making it difficult for you to act behind the wheel. Avoiding a swerving car or putting on the brakes in time is harder to do when you’re sleep-deprived. It’s also not uncommon with sleep apnea to fall asleep while driving.
4. You’re More Likely to Be Depressed
OSA can affect your mental health, too. When you wake up throughout the night, you’re preventing your body from reaching the REM stage of sleep. This stage is very important for processing memories and controlling emotions through chemical releases.
The interruption of REM sleep has been shown to have a negative impact on depression and anxiety. The more this stage of sleep is disturbed, the more difficult it is to deal with emotional distress.
5. You Often Have Headaches
One common side effect of OSA is a headache — people with this condition are much more likely to suffer from tension-type headaches (TTH). These are the most common type of headache, but that doesn’t mean they’re nothing to worry about
TTHs can affect your daily abilities and put you in pain on a regular basis. Though research on the connection between OSA and TTHs has been mixed in the past, a 2015 study found that people with sleep apnea are more likely to experience these headaches.
6. Your Relationships are Suffering
There are many ways that OSA can affect your relationships — not just with intimate partners, but with friends and family as well. Being tired can make socializing difficult, and you may not have enough energy for activities with others.
This can make you feel isolated and contribute to feelings of depression. Additionally, depression you experience as a symptom of OSA can lead you to isolate yourself. Seeking distance from those who love you can hurt them and worsen your mental health further.
OSA Can Harm Your Marriage
Sleep apnea is the third leading cause of divorce in America, and it’s not hard to see why. If you let OSA go untreated, it can significantly affect not only your life but that of the person closest to you.
Marriage means you share your everyday lives with each other, and this extends to the health effects of sleep apnea. Your spouse is at risk for health conditions related to sleep deprivation alongside you. In this case, sharing is not caring.
One of the most obvious signs that a person may have sleep apnea is a loud and persistent snore. If you have a partner trying to sleep in the same bed as you, this can drive a wedge between you. Partners may retreat to a different room in order to sleep peacefully.
OSA also affects your libido, making an intimate connection with your partner more difficult. This can harm your relationship and make your partner feel unwanted.
Treatment Can Revitalize You
The good news is that there are treatment options for OSA that can help you get back on top of your life. Most sleep apnea dentists, like Dr. Chad Brown, offer multiple treatment options based on the severity of your sleep apnea and your lifestyle.
The most common form of treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, but there are also oral appliances that are smaller and more convenient.