What are the Dangers of Sleep Apnea?

What are the Dangers of Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleeping disorder that occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. This causes your airways to narrow or close, making you unable to breathe. If your body stops bringing in oxygen, your brain will wake you up just enough to get your breathing again. You may not even notice your body waking up.

In fact – most people who have sleep apnea don’t know they have it. This can lead to a variety of health issues and can even cause untimely death.

An Unhappy or Tired Partner

Your partner may not tell you this, but your sleep apnea can harm them too! People with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) often snore – loudly. This can lead to your significant other having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep all because of the noise. Even though you may be the one with OSA, your partner may be feeling the physical consequences of your sleep troubles.

Constant Daytime Sleepiness Leads to Safety Hazards

One of the main symptoms of sleep apnea is persistent daytime sleepiness. We all know how difficult and long a day feels when you sleep poorly the night before, but there are more significant risks at play. Daytime sleepiness can cause accidents with motor vehicles and heavy equipment – especially if you fail to get a good night’s sleep for weeks. In fact, people with sleep apnea are 5 times more likely to have traffic accidents than normal sleepers. Other risks associated with daytime sleepiness include poor job performance and low energy.

A Variety of Cardiovascular Issues

Sleep apnea puts a lot of stress on your body and can cause high blood pressure. When your body wakes you up frequently during the night, your hormone systems have to work overtime, and the oxygen level in your blood drops. High blood pressure can cause heart disease and stroke. Sleep apnea disrupts how you take in oxygen and makes it difficult for your brain to control how blood flows through your body.

These issues can include:

A Shortened Lifespan

Your brain is smart enough to wake you up before your body runs out of oxygen, so you won’t die by suffocating in your sleep. However, the complications that come with OSA significantly increase your risk of a shortened life span. People with untreated sleep apnea face more than 3 times the risk of premature death. Carrie Fisher’s official cause of death was untreated sleep apnea. Even closer to home, Dr. Denman’s own father passed away unexpectedly from undiagnosed OSA.
If you are at risk for sleep apnea or you think you are exhibiting some symptoms that indicate you have OSA, we urge you to take our sleep apnea screener to learn more. At Sleep Cycle Center, we are committed to eliminating these preventable deaths from a treatable disease.

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