Health Risks of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can be a life-threatening sleep disorder.
People with sleep apnea have higher chances of serious health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and many more.
High Blood Pressure: 1 in 3 people with high blood pressure also have sleep apnea. In patients who take multiple medications to control their blood pressure, the number is much higher. Treatment for sleep apnea may help to lower blood pressure levels and benefit heart health.
The changes in breathing caused by obstructive sleep apnea affect oxygen levels, blood pressure and heart rate, leading to a higher risk of developing hypertension and making blood pressure more difficult to control.
Better sleep can help to lower blood pressure and help reduce the risk of developing serious health problems.
Heart Disease: Sleep apnea may place a patient at higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
Sleep disorders increase the chance of having cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease increases the chance of having sleep disorder.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can put excessive stress on the heart and worsen existing disease. In Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), the flow of blood, which carries oxygen to the heart, is limited (due to narrowed arteries). So, if they experience OSA, their blood oxygen levels drop and their heart rate and blood pressure rise, increasing the work required of their heart. As a result, the amount of oxygen supplied to their heart decreases just as their heart is demanding more oxygen.
Studies have shown that OSA is a significant risk factor for the development of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). The heart muscle, already in a weakened state, is unable to handle the additional stress caused by the OSA. However, treating OSA can improve heart function in patients with CHF.
Stroke: During a stroke the brain is damaged when the supply of blood and oxygen is reduced or cut off. Hypertension is the most common cause of stroke, and, as stated above, OSA can lead to the development of hypertension. In addition, OSA may cause strokes directly since blood flow to the brain is reduced and the level of oxygen drops during apneas.
Diabetes: More than 1 in 2 people with type 2 diabetes also suffer from sleep apnea. Studies show that sleep apnea may affect the body’s ability to use glucose and insulin. . Treating sleep apnea may help patients manage glucose levels. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), a global alliance of diabetes associations, recently released a “Consensus Statement on sleep and type 2 diabetes”. This statement recommends that when healthcare providers see patients with type 2 diabetes, they should be aware that those people may also have sleep apnea.
If you have diabetes, ask your doctor about screening for sleep problems. (this sentence goes on the brown beside the above paragraph –The International Diabetes etc.) We also want to have the quiz .
Obesity/Overweight: Studies have shown that sleep is important in weight management. Sleep apnea disrupts sleep, which can make losing weight more difficult.
Treating sleep apnea may reduce the risk of developing other serious health conditions by helping to lower blood pressure, improve heart function, and manage glucose levels. Treatment of sleep apnea has been shown to improve a person’s overall quality of life and increase energy throughout the day.
Weight Gain: Weight gain is a common sleep deprivation effects. The amount and quality of sleep affects hormone levels, particularly levels of leptin and ghrelin, which in turn affect physiological processes that depend on these hormone levels. This relationship further complicates the connection between sleep and health. Leptin is a hormone that affects feelings of fullness and satisfaction after a meal, and ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite. When people suffer from sleep deprivation, levels of leptin fall and ghrelin levels increase. This means that people end up feeling hungrier and may be less satisfied by eating, causing them to eat more and, consequently, gain weight.
Erectile Dysfunction: There is evidence that sleep disorders are linked to erectile dysfunction. Testosterone, is an important hormone for many aspects for sexual health. People with obstructive sleep apnea, have an interrupted testosterone cycle. It is possible that such disrupted hormonal cycles may be the link between OSA and the ability to maintain an erection.
Menopause: Some natural in sleep accompany women’s aging processes. The amount of deep sleep decreases, sleep becomes lighter, and more awakenings occur during the night. In the years surrounding menopause, many women experience sleep disturbances with increased frequency. A gradual change in their sex hormone levels impacts their sleep directly, and indirectly, by affecting other important hormones that are related to sleep.
Depression: An inability to sleep, or insomnia, is one of the signs of depression. (A small percentage of depressed people, approximately 15%, oversleep, or sleep too much.) Lack of sleep alone cannot cause depression, but it does play a role. Lack of sleep caused by another medical illness or by personal problems can make depression worse. An inability to sleep that lasts over a long period of time is also an important clue that someone may be depressed.
Fatigue, Lack of Energy & Inability to concentrate: Lack of adequate sleep, sleep disruption and primary sleep disorders are common causes and contributing factors to the complaint of fatigue. Without adequate rest, the brain’s ability to function can quickly deteriorate. The brain works harder to counteract sleep deprivation effects, but operates less effectively, and a person’s ability to focus and complete tasks is impaired. Insufficient rest can even cause hallucinations and contribute to anxiety disorders and other psychiatric problems.
Dementia: Problems with sleeping are a common occurrence for people with dementia. Some people sleep during the day and are awake and restless at night. Some are no longer able to tell the difference between night and day, while others are simply not as active as they used to be and therefore need less sleep.
Sleep disorders have been associated with hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Now a new study suggests that sleep disorders may also be associated with mental decline and dementia. Many elderly patients suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea and should be evaluated at a sleep center.
The message is simple – if you have sleep apnea, you need to get treated!
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CPAP therapy is associated with a lowered risk of heart disease.
Take a quiz to help determine if you have a sleep problem.
If you have diabetes, ask your doctor about screening for sleep problems.