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The Negative Effects of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Untreated sleep apnea is dangerous. When sleep apnea goes untreated it can lead to a variety of comorbidities that include a number of health conditions. From increased risk of cardiovascular disease to diabetes, comorbidities of sleep apnea are nothing to be ignored. To help you gain a better understanding, here are a few health problems linked with sleep apnea

Heart Disease

Sleep apnea can lead to heart attacks, which cause people to die in the middle of the night due to low oxygen or the stress of waking up frequently during sleep. As you might know, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, while stroke takes fourth place for the cause of death and a leading cause of disability with high blood pressure being a major risk in both conditions.

The relationship between sleep apnea, hypertension and cardiovascular disease is very strong, which makes it vital that everyone understand this connection and seek treatment immediately.

High Blood Pressure

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can contribute to high blood pressure in people who have it due to the frequency of waking up at nighttime. Because of this, hormonal systems go into overdrive, which results in high blood pressure levels. The sudden drops in blood-oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea episodes increase blood pressure and place a strain on your cardiovascular system.

Type 2 Diabetes

People suffering from Type 2 diabetes will often also suffer from sleep apnea, which can also lead to obesity. As you might know, obesity is another common comorbidity of sleep apnea. In addition to obesity, diabetes and sleep apnea share a long list of other potential complications, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Eye disease
  • Changes in glucose metabolism
  • Weight control problems

While treating sleep apnea is important in getting a good night’s sleep, treatment can also help treat and maybe even eradicate many other diabetic complications.

Acid Reflux

While there is no proof that sleep apnea causes acid reflux or persistent heartburn, it has been shown that people with sleep apnea do complain of acid reflux. As a result, treatment of sleep apnea appears to improve acid reflux and vice versa. The association with sleep apnea and acid reflux is relatively new, but we have been aware of it for some time now. Some of the connections include:

  • Interrupted sleep
  • Relaxation triggers
  • CPAP side effects

Taking the next step by treating sleep apnea and acid reflux will help you maintain a healthy, active lifestyle without complications.

Obesity

As mentioned above, obesity is a leading cause and side effect of sleep apnea. By adding on weight, it raises the risk of sleep apnea, while losing weight can help cure sleep apnea. When people are severely overweight, they can fail to breathe properly.

When this occurs, it results in low blood oxygen levels and high blood carbon dioxide levels. Many people who are obese stop breathing altogether for short periods of time during sleep. In return, this places an extreme strain on the heart, which can lead to symptoms of heart failure.

Sleep apnea can be treated to prevent many of the common comorbidities, so take charge and visit our office in Richmond, VA.

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