What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes breathing to stop and start repeatedly while sleeping. This disorder comes in two types: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
The most common form, obstructive sleep apnea, is caused by the muscles in the back of the throat relaxing and narrowing the airways as you sleep. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not transmit the signal to breathe to your muscles. Both forms of the disorder can cause serious complications – if you feel tired even after a full night of sleep, you may have sleep apnea.
Some effects of sleep apnea are simply inconvenient, but some can be incredibly serious and life-threatening. If you are affected by sleep apnea, here are some of the effects you could face without treatment.
Effects of Sleep Apnea
- Fatigue. It’s not a surprise that waking up constantly throughout the night makes deep, restorative sleep nearly impossible. You might struggle to concentrate at work and find yourself feeling irritable or moody throughout the day. You may find yourself dozing off at inconvenient or unsafe times – like while driving.
- Medical complications. Certain medications and general anesthesia can be dangerous to people with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea sufferers are also more likely to have complications after surgery.
- High blood pressure. Not breathing throughout the night causes sudden drops in blood oxygen levels. These drops strain the cardiovascular system and increase your blood pressure.
- Type 2 diabetes. Not getting enough oxygen can keep your body in an elevated “fight-or-flight” state, which releases stress hormones. Those hormones raise your blood glucose levels, which increases your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Liver problems. Sleep apnea raises the likelihood of abnormal liver function tests. People with sleep apnea are also more likely to have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Metabolic syndrome. Stress on your cardiovascular system can also cause metabolic syndrome, characterized by high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol levels. This syndrome causes a higher risk of heart disease, which, in combination with sleep apnea, can lead to death.
- Heart problems. The strain on your cardiovascular system is also a strain on your heart. Sleep apnea may increase your risk of abnormal heartbeat, stroke, and recurrent heart attacks. If you already live with heart disease, low blood oxygen can lead to death.
Don’t wait for the effects of sleep apnea to seriously damage your health. A variety of treatment options are available, and we will work with you to find the best solution for your sleep apnea.
Schedule your sleep apnea test today to perform your own sleep apnea testing in the comfort and privacy of your own bedroom.