Sleep apnea is more than just losing a good night’s sleep – disrupted breathing can place a lot of stress on the body, leading to potentially life-threatening complications for those left untreated. Low oxygen levels, rising blood pressure, sleep deprivation, and increased strain on the heart can all harm the health of apnea patients, increasing the risk of other health issues and a decreased life expectancy.
Health Complications From Sleep Apnea
Patients should be aware of the dangers of an apnea diagnosis and be encouraged to explore prevented practices and treatments which can improve their overall health outlook. While many mild cases of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can be managed effectively with medical intervention and lifestyle changes, unmanaged symptoms (or those avoiding a diagnosis entirely) may increase the risk of further health problems, including cardiovascular diseases and accidents or injury due to sleep deprivation.
Sleep Apnea’s Problems With The Heart
As oxygen in the blood starts to fall, the chances of experiencing a hypoxia or hypoxemia episode begin to rise. Hypoxemia results from a decrease in the pressure of oxygen in the blood, ranging from mild to serve symptoms. Hypoxia, however, can be slightly more problematic. This life-threatening condition leads to a defective delivery of oxygen to essential tissues and requires urgent medical attention. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can also increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, often as a result of recurrent hypoxia or hypoxemia episodes.
Dangers Of Apnea And Type 2 Diabetes
Sleep apnea can make diabetes more difficult to manage, as the carbon dioxide in your blood rises with every disrupted breath. Frequent apnea episodes may result in higher levels of carbon dioxide levels in the blood, potentially triggering insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and early morning headaches.
Impact to the Liver
Elevated liver enzymes are common with Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients, as well as the diagnosis of Fatty Liver. Irregular liver function tests and signs of scarring are often indicators of apnea’s impact on the liver but can, in some instances, be treated when the sleep disorder is adequately managed.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and metabolic syndrome, known commonly as ‘insulin resistance syndrome,’ are primarily seen together in obese patients, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, or a stroke. It’s important to note that a person can only be diagnosed when they present with at least three of these health conditions:
- High blood sugar
- Low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides, a type of blood fat
- Too much fat around your waist
- High blood pressure
Mental Health Concerns
Sleep disturbances can take a heavy toll on a patient’s mental health as they struggle to live with brain fog, daytime fatigue, memory loss, and low moods. As well as an increased risk of accidents, neurological health conditions such as depression and mild cognitive impairment can leave many apnea sufferers in dangerous situations. Events such as leaving the stove running during a period of brain fog or struggling to focus in the car are regular concerns for many patients living with the condition.
Reliable And Comfortable Apnea Screenings
As part of our mission to improve the quality and longevity of our patient’s lives, we are committed to evaluating, educating, treating, and eliminating complications related to obstructive sleep apnea. Our range of dedicated services aims to empower patients through accessible screening, alternative treatments, and ongoing support in the management of their apnea, helping them to achieve better, restful sleep as well as improving overall health. Contact us today to discover our services and limit the health risks of your sleep condition: