Health Risks Associated With Sleep Apnea

man snoring in bedSleep apnea interferes with the quality of your rest, which is worrisome enough on its own. But it can also harm your health in several long-term ways by increasing your risk of having serious, chronic health issues.

In this blog, the sleep specialists at eos sleep diagnostics explain more about the health risks associated with sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea?

It's a common disorder that’s characterized by repeated pauses in breathing while you sleep.

If you have sleep apnea, you may not even be aware of it, since you often don’t wake up fully as you stop and restart breathing. It does, however, cause you to repeatedly move from a deeper stage of sleep into a lighter one, keeping you from getting the restful, restorative sleep you need.

The most common type of this sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when your airway collapsing or becoming partially blocked during sleep. This makes it difficult for air to move from your mouth and nose down your throat and into your lungs and the rest of your body.

What are the symptoms?

The following are some common symptoms of this sleep disorder:

  • Loud chronic snoring
  • Episodes of stopped breathing witnessed by another person
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Making gasping or choking sounds as your sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Dry mouth or a sore throat in the morning
  • Insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep)
  • Problems paying attention
  • Increased irritability

What are the health risks associated with sleep apnea?

It has been linked to the following health risks:

  • High blood pressure – Your body is stressed as you stop and restart breathing, which increases your blood pressure. It can also be worsened because of the level of oxygen in your blood drops.
  • Heart disease – Your brain has a harder time controlling how blood flows to your arteries and the brain itself. You may be at a higher risk of having a stroke, heart attack, or irregular heartbeat.
  • Type 2 diabetes – A lack of sleep can interfere with your body’s ability to use insulin properly.
  • Weight gain – You may be more likely to gain weight if you have this sleep disorder since your body can release more of a hormone that makes you crave carbs and sweets. You may also be less likely to exercise if you’re constantly tired during the day.
  • Car or work-related accidents – You may be more likely to feel very drowsy or even fall asleep while driving or using workplace equipment.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Symptoms can make your doctor suspect this disorder, but it can only be definitively diagnosed by using a sleep study (also called a polysomnogram). This non-invasive test uses sensors to measure and record what happens to your body as you sleep.

Information gathered include the following:

  • Heart rate and rhythm
  • Breathing rate
  • Brainwaves
  • Oxygen levels
  • Movements

If you snore, feel excessively sleepy during the day, or have other symptoms that could indicate sleep apnea, make an appointment today with eos sleep diagnostics. We’ll help you get a correct diagnosis, conducting a sleep study if needed. Our sleep specialists will then create a treatment plan to help you get deep, restorative sleep and improve your health.

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