5 Hidden Dangers of Sleep Apnea

By: Dzhingarov

While snoring can result in a bad night’s sleep for millions of Americans, if you have OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea), it’s a sign of a much bigger problem. If left undiagnosed and untreated, this condition can raise your risk of developing a range of health issues, including diabetes and high blood pressure.

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, here are five health problems that you may face.

High Blood Pressure

If you suffer from high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea can make it worse. If you haven’t been diagnosed with OSA, you may find yourself waking up frequently throughout the night, which causes your body to get stressed. Getting treatment for sleep apnea like a CPAP machine can make a huge difference. Once using a CPAP machine, you may notice an improvement in your blood pressure. Make sure that you have scheduled replacements for your CPAP machine to ensure the device works correctly.

Heart Disease

People who have obstructive sleep apnea are at a heightened risk of developing heart disease and having a heart attack, with the root cause behind it being low oxygen. Sleep apnea disturbs how your body takes in oxygen, making it harder for your brain to manage how blood flows to the brain and in your arteries. 

Weight Gain

The more weight you carry, the higher chance you have of getting obstructive sleep apnea. Having this condition makes it harder to lose weight too. If you’re overweight or obese, there are fatty deposits in the neck that can block your breathing when going to sleep. If you have sleep apnea, your body releases additional ghrelin, which is the hormone that makes you crave sweets and carbohydrates, leading to weight gain.

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Type 2 Diabetes

Obstructive sleep apnea is common among individuals with type 2 diabetes. Being obese heightens your risk for both disorders. However, research carried out hasn’t displayed a cause-and-effect correlation between type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea. If you aren’t getting plenty of sleep, your body will stop using insulin correctly, which can lead to diabetes.

Acid Reflux

Although there isn’t concrete evidence that obstructive sleep apnea causes acid reflux, many people living with the condition experience this form of heartburn. Treating acid reflux seems to help sleep apnea symptoms for some.

Self-Care Tips

There are lots of self-help treatment options that you can try out to alleviate symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Losing weight, stopping smoking, avoiding caffeine close to bedtime, and sleeping on your side may help improve your quality of sleep. There are also throat exercises that you can do which build up muscles around the airway, meaning that the muscles are less likely to collapse when you sleep. If you have moderate or severe sleep apnea, there are additional measures that you will need to take to treat your condition.

If you have any of the health problems listed above and wake up feeling run down and low in energy, you may have obstructive sleep apnea. Seeing your doctor and getting a diagnosis will help you find a course of treatment that works best for you.