Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans. A recent study estimates that one in fifteen Americans live with a diagnosed case of sleep apnea, while 4% live with undiagnosed sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea, whether diagnosed or not, can have serious consequences for your health. Below are some of the dangers of sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing during sleep. Snoring happens when you start breathing again after a period of not breathing. There’s more to snoring than just annoying your bedroom neighbors. It’s actually dangerous for your health.
When you stop breathing, your brain is deprived of oxygen. While you are awake, this lack of oxygen causes a variety of problems. The following are six potentially dangerous consequences:
1. The risk of having a stroke is increased.
Having sleep apnea increases your chance of having a stroke while you are awake. This risk is four times greater than that of someone without sleep apnea.
2. The risk of having a heart attack is increased.
A person suffering from sleep apnea is three times more likely to suffer from a heart attack if left untreated.
3. High blood pressure
Having untreated sleep apnea causes your body to lack oxygen, which causes your heart to pump harder, leading to high blood pressure. During sleep, your hormones are also thrown into overdrive, resulting in high blood pressure throughout the day.
4. Type 2 diabetes
If untreated, sleep apnea puts you at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t use insulin properly, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Obesity is also associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea.
5. A higher risk of car accidents
It’s more difficult to stay awake during the day if you don’t get a good night’s sleep. If you’re drowsy while driving, you’re more likely to get into a car accident.
6. Disturbances in mood
Sleep deprivation can eventually affect your mood if you do not get enough sleep. When you have a night with limited sleep, you don’t feel energetic and chipper. Just imagine what it would be like if you were never able to sleep well! You may feel depressed and fatigued as a result of it.
Sleep apnea treatments
In the event that you suffer from sleep apnea, you do not need to worry about the risks involved. Make an appointment with our sleep apnea specialist to address the issue at its source.
The majority of sleep specialists recommend using continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, as a treatment for sleep apnea. However, many people do not adhere to their CPAP usage recommendations, in part due to the device’s loudness and discomfort. Our office can recommend treatment options if you are suffering from sleep apnea. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.