Sleep apnea is a medical condition that affects a lot of people each night. The symptoms can cause serious problems for patients if they go ignored. Some of the symptoms include snoring, shortness of breath or an inability to breathe throughout the night.Want to learn more about sleep apnea? In this article, we discuss what…
How Sleep Apnea Can Affect Your Health
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 of sleep apnea; without treatment, it can lead to other health complications, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The health effects of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea occurs when there is a blockage in the air passages while sleeping. When breathing stops momentarily, the person might produce a loud snort or wake up with a choking feeling after the brain initiates the wake-up alert. Several health conditions have been associated with sleep apnea. These conditions, coupled with the effects of sleep deprivation, can be detrimental to body systems.
High blood pressure
Sleep apnea can worsen hypertension in patients. Poor sleep and recurrent wakeups at night stress the body. The blood pressure level rises when the hormone system is poorly regulated. The blood’s oxygen levels drop with continuous breath stoppage, which can be as many as 100 times in an hour, lasting for more than 10 seconds in each episode. Visiting the sleep apnea specialist for treatment can help manage blood pressure.
Sleep apnea can also contribute to heart attacks. Scientists believe that this is due to low oxygen levels and stress from waking up repeatedly. It can also cause stroke and atrial fibrillation. The condition compromises oxygen delivery to the body, making it harder for the brain to manage blood flow in the arteries and the brain.
This condition is prevalent among people with diabetes. Sleep apnea can increase the risk of developing insulin resistance, which affects how the body processes insulin. When the body does not absorb insulin normally, patients can develop type-2 diabetes.
Gaining extra weight can increase the risk of sleep apnea. The condition can make weight loss efforts harder and unsuccessful.
Sleep deprivation causes daytime drowsiness. One can drift into sleep behind the wheel. Sleep apnea patients are at a higher risk of accidents.
The need for treatment
Undergoing treatment at the sleep dentist’s office can help patients get a good night’s rest. It has many health benefits besides waking up in the morning feeling invigorated. Good sleep improves cognitive functions and reduces the risk of health complications. The sleep dentist can screen patients for sleep apnea through a sleep study. After a diagnosis, they will discuss treatment options to keep the airways open during sleep.
Sleep apnea can make a night’s sleep feel like a futile effort and can increase the risk of many health conditions that affect major body systems, from the endocrine and digestive to the nervous, respiratory, and cardiovascular. Treatment options typically include dental appliances and continuous positive airway pressure devices, which ensure constant airflow to the lungs during sleep.
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