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Feeling Tired All the Time? It Might Be Sleep Apnea

May 26th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Cody B. Jeu, M.D.

tired all the time


tired all the time

If you frequently find yourself feeling exhausted despite getting what should be a full night's rest, you're not alone. This pervasive fatigue, a sensation of waking up feeling as if you haven't had any sleep, may be more than just the outcome of a restless night—it could be a symptom of a more serious condition known as sleep apnea. Fortunately, effective treatments are within reach, and the expert ENT physicians at Houston ENT & Allergy are ready to assist you in combating this sleep disorder.

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Unmasking Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a prevalent yet often overlooked sleep disorder. It's characterized by repeated pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. These interruptions can occur hundreds of times each night, with each pause lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.

When breathing stops or becomes shallow, this can lead to decreases in blood oxygen levels, triggering your brain to briefly awaken you to restart your breathing—often so briefly that you won't remember it the next morning. However, this pattern disrupts your natural sleep rhythm, resulting in less time spent in restorative sleep phases and consequently, chronic fatigue, impaired concentration, and a host of other health issues.

But what causes sleep apnea? This sleep disorder can be attributed to multiple factors. The most common form, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax excessively, causing the airway to collapse and block airflow. Central sleep apnea (CSA), though less common, results from your brain failing to send proper signals to control breathing.

Regardless of the type, the consequences of untreated sleep apnea are severe and far-reaching. It's more than just an issue of being tired all the time; it's a matter of overall health and wellness.

The Dire Consequences of Ignoring Sleep Apnea

Undetected and untreated sleep apnea can contribute to an array of serious health conditions. Chronic fatigue, though debilitating, is just the tip of the iceberg. Let's delve deeper into some of these potential health consequences.

  1. Hypertension: Sleep apnea can exacerbate high blood pressure. The repeated awakenings during the night increase hormonal activity, which in turn boosts blood pressure levels and keeps them elevated.

  2. Depression: Sleep apnea can lead to emotional distress and psychological disorders, including depression. The ongoing fatigue, irritability, and feelings of exhaustion can make it hard to enjoy life or even fulfill day-to-day responsibilities.

  3. Type 2 Diabetes: Sleep apnea is frequently observed in people with type 2 diabetes. The exact reasons for this correlation aren't entirely understood, but intermittent hypoxia caused by sleep apnea may interfere with the body's glucose metabolism, leading to insulin resistance.

  4. Stroke: Sleep apnea can be a risk factor for a stroke. The recurring episodes of low oxygen levels can cause inflammation and other adverse changes in the body that increase stroke risk.

  5. Heart Attacks: Sleep apnea places considerable stress on the heart. The frequent oxygen level drops during sleep lead to an increase in blood pressure and impose an excessive workload on the heart. Over time, this can weaken the heart and increase the risk of a heart attack.

Given these potential health implications, it's evident that ignoring sleep apnea is not an option. It's essential to get this condition diagnosed and treated as early as possible to prevent these complications and promote overall health.

The Importance of Effective Therapy

With the stakes so high, pursuing effective therapy for sleep apnea becomes paramount. Timely and appropriate treatment can help manage the symptoms, improve your sleep and overall quality of life, and reduce the associated health risks.

The conventional treatment for sleep apnea has been CPAP therapy, where a device provides a constant stream of air to keep your airway open during sleep. However, some patients struggle with CPAP due to discomfort or other issues.

That's where innovative treatments like the Inspire Sleep Apnea Device come into play.

Inspire Sleep Apnea Device: A Game-Changer

The Inspire Sleep Apnea Device represents a revolutionary advance in sleep apnea treatment. It's an FDA-approved, implantable system that operates synchronously with your natural breathing process. The device monitors your breathing patterns and delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, thereby maintaining an open airway during sleep.

What sets Inspire apart is its simplicity. It's a mask-free solution, devoid of any external hoses or equipment, controlled by a small handheld remote. This allows users to activate it before sleep and turn it off upon waking up. Clinical trials have shown promising results, with significant reductions in sleep apnea events and substantial improvements in patients' quality of life.

The Role of Houston ENT & Allergy Physicians

Sleep apnea treatment is a journey that requires medical expertise and personalized care. At Houston ENT & Allergy, our team of board-certified ENT physicians is committed to providing you with both.

We start with a thorough evaluation to diagnose sleep apnea accurately. Our team will consider your medical history, current symptoms, and results from any sleep studies. If sleep apnea is confirmed, and if you're a suitable candidate for the Inspire Sleep Apnea Device, we'll guide you through the next steps.

Our experienced ENT physicians perform the Inspire implant procedure, which usually takes about two hours and is typically an outpatient procedure. Following the procedure, we provide close follow-up care to monitor your recovery, adjust the device settings for optimal results, and answer any questions you may have.

Our commitment doesn't end there. We aim to provide continuous care, helping you navigate your journey towards restful sleep and improved health.

In Conclusion

If you're tired all the time and suspect sleep apnea might be the cause, don't delay seeking help. Connect with the team at Houston ENT & Allergy and discover how you can effectively combat sleep apnea. With solutions like the Inspire Sleep Apnea Device, restful sleep, and renewed energy can be more than just a dream—they can be your new reality. Let us help you reclaim your energy, your rest, and your health. You're not alone in this fight, and help is just a phone call away.