Did you know that people suffering from sleep apnea have up to five times greater risk of having traffic accidents? Untreated obstructive sleep apnea doesn’t just affect one’s breathing and sleep quality, but also overall quality of life with potential health risks.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) (or upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), a sleep disorder that lies between snoring and obstructive sleep apnea having to do with problems in the airway from diminished airway diameter, can lead to a stress response in the body that causes a variety of issues. Some of the health problems you could face if you have untreated obstructive sleep apnea include the following:
Blood pressure: Patients with high blood pressure may find it worsening as the body becomes stressed from constantly waking up during the night. This stress response causes your hormone system to overproduce, leading to increased blood pressure levels.
Heart disease: Patients with sleep apnea are at a higher risk of a heart attack, whether from low oxygen levels that don’t provide the brain with enough oxygen or from constantly waking up. People are also at higher risk for stroke or a fast heartbeat called atrial fibrillation.
Diabetes: Eighty percent of people with Type 2 Diabetes may also have sleep apnea, and one element they have in common is obesity, as lack of sleep makes it harder for the body to process insulin correctly.
Obesity: Being overweight often results in fatty neck deposits that can compress the airway when you sleep. Sleep deprivation from sleep apnea makes it harder for your body to process food properly which can cause you to gain weight.
Acid reflux: Patients receiving treatment for acid reflux may find relief for their sleep apnea symptoms and vice versa. Other gastrointestinal problems linked to sleep apnea or sleep disturbances include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis), and a higher risk of cancers such as colon cancer.
Memory loss: One of the neurological effects of sleep apnea is memory loss and brain fog. This can lead to feeling spacey, having trouble concentrating and focusing, and ADHD-like symptoms including reduced refreshing sleep, problems getting up, and sleepiness during the day.
Sleep apnea can have devastating effects on one’s overall health and wellbeing. If you think you may have this sleep disorder, we encourage you to give our team a call today to schedule a consultation. There are effective sleep apnea treatments available, ranging from nighttime breathing aid machines (CPAP), to oral appliances to keep your jaws positioned to optimize your airway while you sleep, to orthodontics to increase the size of yto Orthotropics, which helps the jaws grow into the correct position, to jaw surgery to definitively correct the underlying structural problems. We will start with a sleep study to determine your sleep apnea level and recommend treatment tailored for your needs. We can help you get the good night’s sleep you need for a healthier, happier life!