Get a Sleep Apnea Test Because Your Brain is Suffering
When you hear the term Sleep Apnea, you probably wonder about its physical implications for your body. While it does cause side effects like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, sleep apnea can cause serious brain damage in the long run as well.
People know what OSA is bad for the heart, but the fact that it is equally bad for the brain is largely unknown or ignored. Memory loss, fatigue and lack of attention are just a few of the side effects.
Immediate Side Effects of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea causes people to suffer from repeated pauses in breathing during sleep, which disrupts their sleep cycle. Lack of proper sleep can affect a lot of other aspects of life because your brain is not getting the rest it needs.
OSA sufferers experience a lot of issues in their day-to-day life, including lack of attention, fatigue, irritability, and reduced short-term memory.
The side effects of sleep apnea don’t just end with tiredness and moodiness, as it can cause real physical brain damage. Research suggests that the mammillary bodies of people suffering from sleep apnea could be up to 20% smaller than those who don’t.
Aside from that, there is a significant decrease in the white as well as the grey matter of the brain in individuals suffering from sleep apnea. These don’t only result in issues related to memory and emotional well being, but could also result in a decrease in cognitive functioning and an increase in cardiovascular disturbance.
What Should I Do if I’m Suffering From Sleep Apnea?
The good news is that the damage caused by sleep apnea is reversible if the right actions are taken to reduce it. A CPAP therapy, which provides you with mask to help airflow during sleep, could potentially reverse the effects of sleep apnea within a year. Whereas the white matter of the brain could increase within three months, the grey matter may take up a year to return back to normal.
The first step is to confirm whether you are suffering from OSA or some other sleep disorder. For this purpose, you can order a home sleep test which lets you test yourself within the comfort of your home. It is easy, accurate and it costs a lot less than going to the hospital to get tested. It is important that you ask your doctor before taking the home sleep test.
Once you identify that you have sleep apnea, you should visit a doctor to further understand. In mild cases, your doctor may suggest a few lifestyle changes to reverse the affects of sleep apnea, like quitting smoking or losing weight.
If these changes don’t help you or you a have a severe case of sleep apnea, your doctor may suggest advanced treatments.
The most important thing to remember is that if you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, it is best that you get a home sleep test and put your concerns to rest.