Sleep apnea affects more than 25 million people in the United States alone, making it one of the most common sleep disorders in the country. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It happens when soft tissue in your throat and airway sags, blocking proper breathing when you sleep at night. This can happen dozens or even hundreds of times per night.
But can sleep apnea actually cause serious health issues? The answer is “yes.” If you don’t get treatment for sleep apnea, it can contribute to a wide variety of serious health problems. Let’s get into the details, and discuss five of the top health issues caused by sleep apnea.
1. Sleep Apnea Can Worsen High Blood Pressure
Sleep apnea is correlated with high blood pressure. When your breathing is interrupted at night during sleep, your lungs and your heart may not be able to supply enough oxygen to your blood.
Poor quality sleep due to apnea can also cause the release of stress hormones, which may also lead to higher blood pressure. If you get treatment for sleep apnea, you may be able to reduce your blood pressure to a lower, safer level.
2. Untreated Sleep Apnea Can Raise The Risk Of Heart Disease Or Stroke
Eventually, untreated sleep apnea can lead to a higher risk of serious heart conditions or strokes. According to one study, untreated apnea increases the risk of heart failure by 140%, the risk of stroke by 60%, and the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%. This is because sleep apnea worsens high blood pressure, causes problems with blood oxygenation, and disrupts your body’s ability to properly process oxygen.
3. Sleep Apnea Is Associated With Type 2 Diabetes, Weight Gain
Sleep apnea is closely associated with type 2 diabetes. It’s been estimated that about 80% of people with type 2 diabetes also suffer from OSA. Obesity raises your risk of developing both sleep apnea and diabetes.
A direct connection between type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea has not been proven. But if you’re not getting enough sleep, your body’s insulin response can be affected, which could lead to diabetes. In addition, if you’re tired all the time due to sleep apnea, it can be hard to stay active and lose weight, which means you’re more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
4. Sleep Apnea Can Make You Feel Drowsy And Tired
This is a really serious health problem. Sleep is essential for pretty much every aspect of your health. It’s when your body rests and recovers, both physically and mentally. If you have sleep apnea, you may feel tired and drowsy during the day. You may even be more likely to nod off while driving, which dramatically raises your risk of getting into a car accident.
5. Sleep Apnea Affects Your Mood, Memory, Libido, And More
When you’re not getting enough sleep, it affects your mental health, too. Poor quality sleep can raise your risk of depression. In addition, not getting enough sleep can negatively affect your mood, causing you to become more irritable. People with sleep apnea are also more likely to have memory issues or trouble concentrating. Sleep apnea is also commonly associated with a decreased libido (sex drive).
Explore Your Options For Sleep Apnea Treatment In Atlanta Today!
Whether you suspect you have sleep apnea or you’ve already been diagnosed by a sleep specialist, the team at Greater Atlanta Oral and Facial Surgery is here to help. From oral appliances to CPAP machines and even corrective oral surgery, there are many ways to treat sleep apnea and sleep soundly once again. Contact us online or give us a call today at (404) 433-8433 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Abtin Shahriari and explore your options for sleep apnea treatment in the greater Atlanta and North Georgia areas.