Sleep Apnea Presents Hidden Dangers to Sufferers

sleep apnea and the various health dangers that it poses to people

Among the many sleep disorders that trouble millions of people, sleep apnea may be the most frightening. This is a condition in which an individual repeatedly stops breathing throughout the night without realizing it. That in itself is a danger, but, left untreated, it can lead to the development of some of these other serious medical conditions.

Blood Pressure Could be Affected

If you already have high blood pressure and you do stop breathing at night, the condition could worsen. Sleep apnea can cause you to wake up several times in a night, which can put additional stress on the body. When this occurs, hormone levels are increased, which, in turn, causes a rise in your blood pressure level. Additionally, difficulty breathing causes a drop in oxygen levels in the blood, which also boosts blood pressure levels.

The Risk of Heart Disease is Increased

People with this kind of sleep disorder are more likely to experience heart attacks. While the reason for this is currently unknown, researchers believe the lack of oxygen in the blood and the frequent waking likely contribute to poor heart health. Additionally, sleep apnea doctors also reported that patients are more likely to suffer strokes or atrial fibrillation, which is a rapid, fluttering heartbeat. Because oxygen intake is disrupted in this condition, the brain has difficulty controlling blood flow throughout the body.

People Who Stop Breathing at Night also Suffer from Type 2 Diabetes

There’s also a correlation between patients suffering from type 2 diabetes and from sleep apnea, though researchers are still trying to identify how the two conditions are related. They do know that poor sleep inhibits the body’s ability to process insulin, which leads to diabetes. 80% of diabetics also suffer from this sleep disorder, suggesting the correlation is more than mere coincidence.

Poor Weight Management is also Linked to Poor Sleep Conditions

Obesity raises the risk that an individual will develop apnea, which is problematic, because, once the sleeping illness manifests, it can make it that much more difficult to lose weight. Fatty acids in the neck form blocks in the airways, which affects the person’s ability to breath. Conversely, apnea causes the body to produce a hormone called ghrelin, which basically sends the individual’s sweet tooth into overdrive. The production of ghrelin and the lack of sleep leads to poor eating choices and greater weight gain.

Heartburn Could be a Problem

There is no solid evidence linking acid reflux to this disorder, but many apnea patients have reported experiencing greater incidences of heartburn. When the sleeping illness is treated, the acid reflux tends to go away as well.

Any trouble with getting a peaceful night’s sleep is bound to affect other aspects of our health. It’s not just a matter of being overtired. If you do suffer from apnea, it may be wise to seek out a sleep apnea doctor for an examination. He may be able to help you solve your problem, before it has other unexpected effects on your physical wellbeing.