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How Sleep Apnea Can Endanger Your Health

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Health Care

Sleep Apnea – Snoring can be a bother for some people as sometimes, it’s too loud and it keeps the other person in bed awake for most of the night. But as harmless snoring can be, it’s often a sign of a more severe health problem called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).  This is a sleep condition in which a person pauses or stops their breathing unconsciously during their sleep. People with this condition would often wake up at night gasping for breath. Sometimes, they wouldn’t even remember these awakenings unless their bedmate would tell them about it.   

Aside from loud snoring, other symptoms associated with sleep apnea may include excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headache, gasping for air while sleeping, dry mouth, and irritability. People with sleep apnea are also more at risk of heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and more. Thankfully, sleep apnea is treatable as long as you visit a sleep apnea clinic and have yourself diagnosed by a professional sleep specialist.   

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So, if you noticed one or more of the symptoms, it’s best to consult a doctor right. To help you understand how serious sleep apnea is, here are some ways sleep apnea can endanger your health and your life.   

The most dangerous way sleep apnea could affect your health is by increasing your risk of heart diseases. People with sleep apnea are more prone to have heart attacks due to the lack of oxygen their body takes during their sleep. With sleep apnea, your breathing suddenly stops or pauses.  Thus, disrupting the flow of oxygen to your body and eventually making it harder for your brain to control the blood flow in your brain and arteries. 

Aside from heart attacks, a person is also at risk for atrial fibrillation and stroke. So, if you suspect yourself to have OSA, it’s best to seek treatment right away to prevent the development of these severe health issues.  

  • High Blood Pressure 

If you already have high blood pressure, sleep apnea could make it even worse. Every time you wake up at night to gasp for air, your body becomes stressed.  Thus, causing your body to go into overdrive and further increase your blood pressure levels.   

  • Diabetes 

Sleep apnea can interfere with your sleep every night. Due to lack of sleep, your body won’t be able to regulate insulin properly. Thus, this could lead to diabetes. Furthermore, the breathing pauses you make during your sleep might adversely affect your glucose metabolism, making your body resistant to insulin. Ultimately, sleep apnea will also increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes.  

  • Weight Gain 

When you’re overweight, your body tends to deposit more fats around your neck, blocking your breathing at night and causing sleep apnea. Once you have sleep apnea, it’ll be harder for you to trim down your weight. This is because sleep apnea could also boost your body’s production of ghrelin.  This is a hormone responsible for making you crave sweets and carbs. 

Furthermore, sleep apnea can deprive you of sleep, leading your body to fail to convert the food you eat into energy and lead to weight gain. Thankfully, most treatments for sleep apnea could help you get back your energy and motivate you to exercise and practice healthy eating.  

  • Daytime Sleepiness 

As mentioned, sleep apnea could negatively affect the quality of your sleep every night. As a result, you often wake up feeling tired, irritable, and fatigued. Eventually, this results in daytime sleepiness. With daytime sleepiness, it’ll also be more difficult for you to think clearly, thus affecting your performance at work and other day-to-day responsibilities.  

  • Car Accidents 

Sleep apnea could cause you to feel sleepy and groggy during the day. When you’re feeling dizzy, you’re easily putting yourself at risk of falling asleep while driving a vehicle. Thus, people with sleep apnea are more likely to get involved in traffic accidents compared to normal sleepers. Aside from feeling sleepy, it could also affect your mind’s ability to concentrate on the road. Thus, making it harder for you to read road signs, and hear traffic noises, 

  • Depression 

Overall, sleep apnea could affect your sleep quality. People who are often sleep-deprived are more prone to depression. Furthermore, depression could make it harder for you to get enough sleep, further worsening your sleep apnea. So, during the first symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s best to have yourself treated right away before it could turn into other severe health complications.  

The Bottomline 

Overall, obstructive sleep apnea should be treated seriously during its first noticeable signs. As scary as this sleep condition can be, it is treatable. Generally, the doctor might recommend you to use a machine called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). Using this requires you to wear a mask-like device to possibly help you breathe better during your sleep.  

It may take you some time to get used to using the machine while sleeping. Eventually, the CPAP is aimed to make you sleep better and become healthier. So, if you or someone you love is suffering from sleep apnea, encourage them to get treated right away. This could help them before it leads to any of these dangerous health conditions.

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