Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea services offered in Shenandoah, TX

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep conditions in the U.S., but it often goes undiagnosed and untreated. With extensive experience managing sleep apnea effects, Chris Sparkman, MD, Tabatha Mize, FNP, and the team can help patients with this condition achieve better sleep and improved overall health at Sparkman Family Medicine in Shenandoah, Texas. Call the family medicine practice today or schedule an appointment online to learn more.

What is sleep apnea, and are there different types?

Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder that causes pauses in breath. It can cause you to stop breathing hundreds of times while you sleep. Sleep apnea can be difficult to diagnose since you’re unaware of these pauses. The three most common types are:

Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat weaken. Without this support, the tissue in the back of your throat collapses and obstructs your airways.

Central sleep apnea

Less common than OSA, central sleep apnea is a miscommunication between the brain and the muscles in the back of the throat that control breathing.

Complex sleep apnea

Complex sleep apnea means you have OSA and central sleep apnea. While you can have both forms, you may have symptoms of one type more than the other.

What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?

Understanding the warning signs of sleep apnea is crucial for early detection and responsive intervention. While every person experiences different symptoms, common signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Daytime fatigue and excessive sleepiness
  • Waking up gasping for air
  • Decreased libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Morning headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty concentrating

Without treatment, sleep apnea can affect your ability to sleep, maintain productivity at work, and function in your daily life.

I have sleep apnea. Is it dangerous?

Sleep apnea can be dangerous without proper care, as it causes your blood oxygen levels to drop. While sleep apnea affects many of your bodily functions, it’s particularly stressful on your heart and overall cardiovascular function. Complications from sleep apnea can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Liver problems
  • Arrhythmias 

Lack of restful sleep, diminished sexual function, and other symptoms of sleep apnea may also increase your risk of mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression.

Can sleep apnea go away naturally?

Sleep apnea typically doesn’t resolve without professional medical care. At Sparkman Family Medicine, Dr. Sparkman and the team work with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses your specific concerns and improves your sleep quality. The most effective treatments for sleep apnea include:

  • Dental appliances 
  • Medications
  • Weight loss
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine

After a comprehensive evaluation, Dr. Sparkman and the team can determine the right treatment for your needs. Call Sparkman Family Medicine today or schedule an appointment online to learn more.