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Is Apnea Wrecking Your Sleep?

It’s not unusual to have a sleepless night from time to time. Everything from hectic work deadlines to teething babies keeps even the best sleepers from getting their fair share of restorative sleep.

But if every so often is turning into every day for a week or longer, it may be a good idea to schedule a consultation at Generations Family Practice Wellness Center in Cary, North Carolina, says laser treatment specialist Laurie Glodowski. Sleep apnea may be causing your sleepless nights, and it could have serious medical implications.

Snoring and sleep apnea

Snoring is a great banter topic for couples and friends, but did you know that almost half of the general population snores occasionally and one out of every four Americans snores regularly? If you are a frequent snorer or within earshot of one, you are all too aware that snoring is anything but funny.

Snoring is a primary symptom of a medical condition called sleep apnea. The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. With OSA, a partial or complete blockage to the upper airway causes repetitive brief breathing disruptions throughout a sleep session.

During a sleep apnea episode, besides snoring you may gasp or snort, or experience body jerks that wake you up when breathing ultimately resumes. This scenario repeats throughout the night, keeping you from getting sound sleep.  

Puts you at a higher risk for serious medical issues

As disturbing and disruptive as snoring and sleep apnea can be, the health repercussions can be even more serious. The issue is every time you stop breathing, your blood oxygen levels take a sudden dip, causing stress on your cardiovascular system.

As a reaction to this stress, your body releases the stress hormone known as adrenaline. A low blood oxygen level coupled with adrenaline sets up a perfect storm for developing high blood pressure (hypertension) and puts you at a higher risk of having a stroke or heart attack. But that’s not all.

While your blood oxygen levels drop, the level of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream increases, throwing off your metabolism, which regulates blood glucose. This scenario may lead to insulin resistance, which prevents your body from using insulin properly. Insulin resistance affects you in two important ways — it puts you at a higher risk of developing diabetes but also makes it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. If you already have diabetes, insulin resistance makes it harder for you to control.

Noninvasive, patient-friendly laser treatment can help

Here at Generations Family Practice Wellness Center, we help our patients increase the quality of their sleep through a safe, noninvasive, patient-friendly laser treatment called NightLase® therapy. NightLase treatment addresses snoring by tightening loose tissue in your throat that vibrates when you snore. After treatment, airways stay open, preventing sleep disruption.

The way the treatment plan plays out is you come in for a free consultation at Generations Family Practice Wellness Center. After learning more about your concerns and symptoms, we’ll coordinate with your primary care physician who can order a diagnostic sleep study, called polysomnography. The study takes place while you sleep, and monitors data like heart rate, brain activity, muscle activity, and eye movement. Your doctor uses these measurements to diagnose your specific sleep disorder.

If your doctor diagnoses you with OSA and deems you to be a good candidate for NightLase treatment, you’ll come back to Generations Family Practice Wellness Center for your first session. During NightLase treatment, your laser specialist points a handheld wand at the tissue in the back of your throat. The device emits different wavelengths of laser light energy, which transforms and tightens the tissue.

Typically, a NightLase snoring treatment plan includes multiple sessions. However, the number of sessions for your treatment plan is based on the severity of your symptoms, and your age and medical history. The team here at Generations Family Practice Wellness Center usually recommends a series of three or four treatments spaced several weeks apart for optimal outcomes.

If you snore or think you may have sleep apnea and want to learn if NightLase snoring treatment is right for you, make an appointment for a free consultation at Generations Family Practice Wellness Center. Contact us by calling 984-228-1521 or request a visit online today.

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