It’s a common misconception that obstructive sleep apnea is only a nuisance that causes you to snore or gasp for air during the night. While snoring, gasping, and choking are all side effects of sleep apnea, untreated sleep apnea can be far more dangerous than people realize.
Sleep apnea doesn’t only affect an individual’s quality of sleep but can wreak havoc on their overall health as well. Ignoring or postponing treatment for sleep apnea can increase your risk of a multitude of health problems. If you suspect you’re suffering from sleep apnea, take a home sleep test and have your results analyzed by a sleep physician who can set you up with a treatment plan.
To better understand how sleep apnea impacts your health, ApneaMed has outlined a few health problems you may encounter if your obstructive sleep apnea goes untreated.
High Blood Pressure
Many individuals diagnosed with sleep apnea also suffer from high blood pressure. This is because sleep apnea puts stress on your body every time it is forced to gasp for air during the night, causing undue stress on your body. As a result, your hormones go into overdrive and boost your blood pressure levels. If high blood pressure goes untreated, it can increase your risk of other health issues such as heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks.
Because most sleep apnea patients also deal with high blood pressure, they are more likely to experience a heart attack than an individual without obstructive sleep apnea. Due to having elevated blood pressure, the individual’s heart is forced to beat faster. Over time, making the heart work harder can lead to a heart attack.
Although there isn’t necessarily a cause-and-effect between sleep apnea and diabetes, approximately 80% of patients with Type 2 diabetes also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. This sleep disorder causes the diabetic individual to feel tired and unrested during the day, even after getting a whole night’s sleep.
As a result, the individual may find it more challenging to monitor their insulin levels, prepare healthy meals, and take their required medication. If the patient’s diabetes isn’t managed correctly, it can lead to other significant health problems that can be fatal.
When you’re tired and feel as though you didn’t get enough sleep, it can be hard to find the motivation to do more than sit on the couch. This sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea increases the risk of being obese. However, sleep apnea can also cause a hormonal imbalance within your body that impacts your appetite. As a result, you may find yourself eating more often without the motivation or energy to work out.
Although there isn’t a verified link between sleep apnea and acid reflux, it’s a common health concern that many patients with obstructive sleep apnea face. In some cases treating acid reflux has been shown to improve some sleep apnea symptoms, making it a bit easier to breathe throughout the night comfortably. Similarly, treating your sleep apnea can also reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
Testing and Treatment for Sleep Apnea
If you have any signs or symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea and any one of the risk factors mentioned above, it is more important than ever to schedule a home sleep test. Untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk of these health problems, impacting your overall health. With ApneaMed’s home sleep test, your results will be analyzed by a board-certified sleep physician who will determine the correct form of treatment.
If you’re interested in a self-administered sleep apnea test from ApneaMed, contact our team to learn more.