Sleep apnea is a sleep condition that causes one's breathing to pause recurrently and temporarily during sleep. Once breathing stops, the brain forces the body to wake up and continue breathing. The sleeping disruption prevents good sleep and causes you to feel drowsy and tired during the day. Daytime sleepiness is not the only consequence…
How Obstructive Sleep Apnea Affects Your Health
You have been to a sleep medicine specialist and found out you have obstructive sleep apnea. Now, you cannot help but wonder how the condition impacts your health. Sleep apnea can cause a variety of serious health conditions and even lead to premature death. Fortunately, treatment can open up your airway so that you receive enough oxygen and get restful sleep each night. Once you treat the sleep apnea, you can reverse many of these dangerous conditions.
Health conditions associated with sleep apnea
Many people with obstructive sleep apnea do not receive treatment. Some people get sleep studies that detect sleep apnea but refuse to undergo CPAP therapy. Others never receive a diagnosis from a sleep medicine provider. While there is not a cure for sleep apnea, treatment prevents the airway from closing during the night. Find out what can happen when people fail to undergo treatment.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure can occur when people have untreated obstructive sleep apnea. The body releases stress hormones when people wake up constantly during the night. That, combined with the lack of oxygen, can cause blood pressure to rise. Those who already have high blood pressure are at the greatest risk for reaching dangerous levels.
Heart disease is also common in people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. The lack of oxygen prevents the brain from controlling blood flow in the body, causing heart disease. Heart disease can cause stroke, heart attacks and other serious health issues. People also might experience chest pains due to heart disease.
Excess weight puts pressure on the neck, impeding breathing at night. This can lead to sleep apnea. Once people get sleep apnea, their bodies release extra ghrelin. This hormone causes people to crave unhealthy foods such as carbohydrates. The cravings make it more difficult to lose weight and can lead to extra weight gain. The added fatigue also makes it more difficult to resist food cravings.
Type 2 diabetes
People with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Intermittent hypoxia impacts glucose metabolism. Over time, people can develop insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes can cause a range of health issues including nerve and kidney damage and heart and blood vessel disease.
People with sleep apnea do not get enough rest during the night. Lack of sleep causes confusion, irritability and anxiety. People who do not get the required amount of sleep are also more prone to accidents. This puts patients at risk for serious injuries that impact their overall health.
Seek treatment at a sleep medicine facility
If you have untreated sleep apnea, your health is at risk. You can develop high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. You also might gain extra weight, and chronic fatigue can put you at risk every time you stand up or get in a vehicle. Visit a board-certified sleep medicine specialist to get help today.
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