Sleep Apnea Risks

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder affecting nearly 22 million Americans. It is common for sleep apnea to remain undetected without the help of a certified sleep study. While many Americans have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, an estimated 30 million are left undiagnosed and untreated. Board-certified sleep physicians at ApneaMed recommend treating sleep apnea with an AutoPAP machine to mitigate the increased risk of serious health complications that have been linked to sleep apnea. Among these related health conditions are the following:

  • Increased Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes - Untreated sleep apnea can interrupt your sleep hundreds of time during the night. This interferes with the body's ability to re-calibrate insulin levels, which is largely done while we sleep. This imbalance can lead to insulin resistance, which is a key feature of Type 2 diabetes. Once Type 2 diabetes develops, it can be incredibly difficult to make the lifestyle changes necessary to recover if your sleep apnea is not treated first.
  • Increased Risk Of Heart Disease - Obstructive sleep apnea can affect your heart rate, creating atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heartbeat). This abnormality occurs due to insufficient oxygen levels during the night. In turn, the entire cardiovascular system is affected and under more stress. Requiring your heart to constantly work under strained conditions can lead to stroke, heart disease, and in extreme cases, sudden death.
  • Increased Weight Gain. Poor sleep caused by sleep apnea contributes to the production of ghrelin, a hormone in the body that increases your appetite. Ghrelin production limits leptin production - the hormone that promotes appetite suppression.
  • Increased Risk Of Hypertension. Poor oxygen levels caused by sleep apnea create added stress on the cardiovascular system. Because of this, sufferers of sleep apnea have a significantly higher risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • Increased Risk of Post-Surgery Complications. Certain medications can worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea. Lower oxygen levels and poor sleep can increase your risk of post-surgery complications. OSA can also be an issue when it comes to post-surgery complications and certain medicines, as surgery can leave a person bed-bound in a prone position, which can be difficult if you are already having problems breathing.
  • Increased Risk of Acid Reflux. For those suffering from acid reflux and sleep apnea, nocturnal gastrointestinal reflux is often a present symptom and triggered by sleep apnea episodes. The combination of a sleep apnea episode and nocturnal gastrointestinal reflux can trigger a coughing reflex, inhalation of bodily acid, and asphyxiation.

Sleep Apnea Can Have A Significant Impact On Your Partner’s Health

Some side effects of sleep apnea include loud snoring, choking, and gasping for air as you struggle to breathe through a sleep apnea episode. These sounds disturb a partner who shares the bed. In fact, many people with sleep apnea are made aware of their sleep disorder by the initial complaints of their sleep partner. Your partner’s disrupted sleep has negative effects on their health as well, including:

  • Irritability
  • Weight Gain
  • Daytime Drowsiness
  • Headaches

Find Out If You Have Untreated Sleep Apnea

To find out if you’re suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea, start by filling out our brief patient questionnaire. As many as 40 million Americans have sleep apnea, and our Home Sleep Test is a reliable way to diagnose this common sleep disorder. The results of the ApneaMed questionnaire will determine if you are a good candidate for a home sleep test. Once diagnosed, you can be on your way to treating sleep apnea for a better night’s rest and better health.