What are the Possible Hidden Dangers of Sleep Apnea?

Topics: Sleep Apnea, sleep deprivation, sleep apnea symptoms

Is your partner irritated by your habit of snoring at night? Does she complain that you wheeze so loudly that it keeps her up? If that is the case, you should consider undergoing a sleep study to determine whether you have sleep apnea.

Possible Hidden Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder where your breathing is hindered because of airway obstruction. It makes you stay up through the night and affects your physical and mental abilities. Besides, sleep apnea is also linked with several health problems like hypertension and diabetes.

It can complicate your health conditions and worsen your overall well-being. However, there is no need to get worried, as by seeking appropriate treatment for sleep apnea, you can lessen the risks associated with these issues.

How can sleep apnea cause deterioration of your health?

If you were diagnosed with sleep apnea, then here are some health conditions that you should be concerned about:

  • Type 2 diabetes

It is common for someone who has diabetes to might be at risk of OSA. It is so because people suffering from sleep apnea stop breathing numerous times in the middle of the night. As a result, it leads to oxygen deprivation. Because of this, the fat cells become resistant to insulin and glucose levels rise. This situation is referred to as glucose intolerance. When it occurs, your body stops responding to the insulin that prevents you from absorbing enough glucose. As a result, it increases blood sugar levels, which causes diabetes. (source)

  • High blood pressure

If you have sleep apnea, being a patient with high blood pressure can be dangerous for your health (source). It is so because waking up in the middle of the night stresses out your body. It can make your hormones go into overdrive, leading to a spike in blood sugar levels. Also, if you stay awake during bedtime because of breathing troubles, the oxygen levels in your blood can drop. So it can further add to the problem.

  • Weight gain

Having sleep apnea may lead to excess release of ghrelin hormone. It can make you crave sweets and carbs. Also, staying up through the night leads to the urge to munch on something. These conditions can lead to weight gain. But, on the flip side, being overweight also increases your risk of having sleep apnea. It is so because, in obese people, fat can deposit around the neck. It can block your breathing at night.

  • Memory loss

Memory slips are not uncommon in people. While many individuals experience this problem at severe levels, others report mild symptoms. In medical terms, the condition is referred to as mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Its symptoms are not as serious as dementia, and not everyone who has MCI develops this disease.

People with breathing problems like sleep apnea can develop MCI earlier than their counterparts. Moreover, since getting proper sleep helps in consolidating memories, having sleep apnea can worsen your memory loss condition (source).

  • Depression

Research has found a correlation between sleep and mood and sleep deprivation and depression. While some people experience an onset of symptoms from both conditions at the same time, others experience deprivation before the depression.

Poor sleep resulting from sleep apnea can be a risk factor for depression. And, on the flip side, depressed people also find it challenging to rest. So, if you have been feeling sad for a while and can’t fall asleep, you should consult with your doctor.

  • Acid Reflux

Although there is a lack of evidence suggesting sleep apnea is linked to this kind of heartburn, many people believe otherwise. The reason behind it is that numerous patients have reported improvement in reflux symptoms after getting treatment for sleep apnea and managing OSA symptoms improved reflux condition.

  • Accidents

Although accidents are not a part of physical health conditions, they are linked with your life and death scenario. Having sleep apnea increases the risk of accidents as due to not resting well, your chances of falling asleep at the wheel increase. Individuals who have sleep apnea are five times more likely to get into traffic accidents than ordinary people.

  • Daytime sleepiness

Even after the sun is up, you still feel sleepy. It is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. It might take a toll on everything and affect how you rest and think. Getting treatment for sleep apnea can improve your sleep and make you feel less fatigued during the day.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can worsen numerous health conditions. It can exacerbate symptoms of heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, weight gain, and memory loss. Those who have sleep apnea should get treatment as soon as possible. Doing so will improve your OSA symptoms and relieve problems associated with other health conditions as well.


Disclaimer: The co-relation mentioned is based on the general information available over the internet. ResMed is not making any claims over a direct relation. The content is for informational purposes only and because each person is so unique, please consult a healthcare professional for any medical queries.

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