The Dangerous Consequences of Sleep Apnea

Snoring is annoying and can disrupt your sleep and your significant other’s as well. However, it can have even more severe consequences if you snore and suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea increases your risk of developing dangerous health conditions. However, these problems can be curbed if you seek treatment for your sleep apnea.

What Health Problems Can Arise from Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

It’s important to know what health problems can arise if you have obstructive sleep apnea. These conditions include the following:

  • High Blood Pressure: Sleep apnea can increase your blood pressure. Additionally, if your blood pressure is already on the upper side, it can get worse with obstructive sleep apnea because your body is under stress while you sleep. When your breathing is not proper, the level of oxygen in your blood decreases.
  • Heart Disease: If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you are far more likely to suffer a heart attack. Low oxygen in your blood means your heart receives less oxygen as well. You also experience additional stress during sleep because of frequent waking.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Around 80 percent of people who have obstructive sleep apnea also have type 2 diabetes. Additionally, being obese increases the risk of suffering from both conditions.
  • Weight Gain: If you have gained a considerable amount of weight, it can also raise your risk of developing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea also makes it more difficult to lose weight. Being overweight or obese means you have more fat in the neck area, which can obstruct your breathing while you sleep.
  • Asthma: Individuals who have obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to develop asthma, a chronic lung disease.
  • Acid Reflux: Many people who have sleep apnea claim to suffer from acid reflux as well.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you should seek treatment. Many of the other medical conditions that can develop when you have obstructive sleep apnea can be reduced or eliminated with the right treatment.

One means of treatment your doctor may prescribe is the usage of a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” It is fitted with a hose at the end of which there is a mask. You wear that mask during the night while you sleep and receive oxygen, which can help you to breathe better and can improve your condition overall.

Other forms of treatment include mouth appliances, nerve stimulators, and surgery. It’s important to consult with your doctor to determine which type of treatment is most appropriate for you.

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How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?

This blog originally appeared on Alex Lucio’s blog here

If you’re reading this, chances are you Googles “How do I know if I have sleep apnea?” As the Executive Vice President of a manufacturer and distributor of medical devices for the treatment of sleep disordered breathing, I can tell you everything you need to know about sleep apnea and what its symptoms are.

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that restricts your air passageways when you’re sleeping. Since your oxygen supply is restricted, sleepers are woken up several times throughout the night to breathe. Do you think you are one of the 22 million American adults with sleep apnea? Although this is a surprisingly large number, only 20 percent of sleep apnea cases are diagnosed!

Unfortunately the only way to diagnose sleep apnea is to take a sleep test, but this list of symptoms can clue you in to see if a doctor’s visit is in order.

Your Spouse Moved to a Different Room

This is probably a key indicator that can clue you in if you have sleep apnea — especially if your spouse usually sleeps in the same bed as you. Although you are sound asleep throughout the night, the snoring and gasping your partner hears can keep them up at night! And what’s their only solution? Moving elsewhere to get a good night’s sleep. If you notice this happens frequently, talk to your spouse. Surprisingly, most sufferers of sleep apnea aren’t diagnosed until their spouse says something about it!

You Havea Headache

If you have sleep apnea, you frequently stop breathing throughout the night — which means your brain gets less oxygen. As a defense mechanism, your blood vessels expand to allow more oxygen to pass through. However, this comes at a cost since this can leave you with headaches. Take special notice if the pain occurs on both sides of your head, because this is where sleep apnea sufferers get their headaches the most.

You Have Dry Mouth

Sufferers of sleep apnea often struggle with breathing through their nose at night. The next best option? Unconsciously opening their mouth to breathe. This can leave you with unpleasant dry mouth and even a sore throat in the morning!

You Feel Like You Didn’t Sleep at All

Although you got your recommended eight hours of sleep every night, you still feel like you didn’t sleep at all. Why? Sleep is constantly interrupted throughout the night because breathing temporarily stops — kind of like choking — and your body wakes up to let you know that you’re choking. Throughout the night you’re losing quality sleep, which will leave you feeling exhausted when you wake up. This is especially dangerous for drivers, since driving while tired is similar to driving under the influence of alcohol.