What You Need to Know About the Unseen Hazards of Sleep Apnea?

October 11, 2017

Sleep apnea is a pretty common sleep disorder in which your breathing keeps on stopping and starting up while asleep.

The two most common types of sleep apnea are central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea indicates that something is blocking your airway at night which could be a mass in your throat or that your neck muscles may become so relaxed that they threaten to collapse your windpipe. Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain does not send any signals to your body to breath while you’re asleep.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

During your episode of sleep apnea, you may stop breathing, start to gasp or grunt, wake up and then drop off again. Daytime sleepiness is usually the most common symptom of sleep apnea. The symptoms of sleep apnea can be detrimental to your health if not treated in time.

8 Hidden Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea


  • High Blood Pressure


The rate at which you suffer from sleep apnea will go on through the night and cause your hormonal systems to go into overdrive and lead to high blood pressure at night. But the good news is that anyone suffering from high blood pressure who has had his sleep apnea treated can usually reduce his intake of blood pressure medicine soon after.


  • Heart Disease


Anyone who is living with untreated sleep apnea is at a lot more risk of suffering from heart attacks in the middle of the night. The constant stress of waking up from deep sleep as well as the lack of a steady supply of oxygen increase the chances of having a heart attacks. The constant disruption in the flow of oxygen to your brain due to sleep apnea makes it difficult for your body to regulate the amount of blood flowing to the brain.


  • Type 2 Diabetes


Around 80% of people who have diabetes usually suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Being obese is usually a risk factor in both disorders and being deprived of sleep has been shown to cause insulin resistance which is a precursor to diabetes.


  • Weight Gain


Research indicates that there is a connection between losing sleep and gaining weight. Your body does not function properly as it’s deprived of sleep which means having low energy levels overall leading to weight gain. This is a pretty vicious cycle as the heavier you get the higher the chances of you getting sleep apnea are due to the fat building up around your neck, making it harder to keep your airway open at night.


  • Adult Asthma


People who have their sleep apnea treated tend to suffer from fewer heart attacks.


  • Acid Reflex


It has not actually been proven that sleep causes heartburn but a lot of patients claim it is so. Treating the sleep apnea helps to improve the sleep apnea symptoms according both patients and doctors alike.


  • Increasing the Chances of Car Accidents


Being tired or sleepy makes you more susceptible to making mistakes. Your brain dictates how your body will function and a fatigued brain is not good for your body. Driving may be second nature to you but a fatigued brain may cause you to slip up. Having sleep apnea can cause you to lose your alertness and some of your inhibitions which can lead to a car accident as well.


  • Drop in Your Quality of Life


Having sleep apnea affects your mood and lifestyle, making you more anxious. Lack of sleep affects everyone’s life in a negative way, such as their health and attitude to life. It is understandable how patients can become anxious as your fatigued body is trying to keep your body breathing which is a natural process that requires little to no exertion. Lack of sex drive is also linked to sleep apnea.

How Children are Affected by Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea occurs at least once every hour while sleeping whereas adults usually face up to 5 events every hour. This largely due to the having less oxygen in the blood or an arousal from deep sleep as the brain attempts to awaken the body to resume normal breathing.

Children have sleep apnea when at least one apnea event occurs during every hour of sleep according to various sleep studies.

Symptoms of sleep apnea in children can differ from mouth breathing, bedwetting to sleepwalking. Even if your child happens to become restless and sweaty during sleep, it is probably because they are struggling with breath due to sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

The treatment for sleep apnea tends to vary according to the severity of each individual case and the type of apnea that the individual has. Certain basic treatment can be due to an individual’s behavioral patterns which the doctor will advise you to change such as losing weight, quitting smoking and sleeping on their side rather than their back. Oral devices can also be placed in the mouth to prevent any blockage. Surgery is the last option if the case is serious enough.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition so don’t delay in following this up with a doctor as effective treatment is available and can prevent further health problems if treated in time.


Author Bio:

A dental marketer at Michael G. Long DDS and a believer in holistic health, Grace lives by the rule that health and happiness go hand in hand. She writes on various dental topics focusing on healthy living and holistic health. When she’s not working or blogging, she enjoys spending her time with her family and volunteering at the local youth centers where she educates children about the importance of health and fitness.

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