Sleep apnea is a health problem that leads to interruptions to your breathing during sleep. When it occurs, the body wakes you up so that breathing can be restored. These interruptions to a person's sleep can prevent them from getting sufficient sleep, leading to them feeling tired during the day.
The effects of sleep apnea go way beyond making a person feel sleepy. If left unaddressed, it can lead to serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
What causes sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is the result of a person's airways becoming blocked during sleep. Each time the person wakes up to resume breathing, they let out a loud snore that can make sharing a room with them a pain. The sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea also leads to its own share of problems like high blood pressure and obesity.
Sleep apnea has negatives effects on the:
- Endocrine system: Those with sleep apnea have a higher risk of developing a resistance to insulin
- Respiratory system: Lack of proper sleep lead to shortness of breath. It can worsen the symptoms of respiratory issues like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma
- Digestive system: People with sleep apnea are more likely to have scarring in their liver and fatty liver disease. It worsens the symptoms of gastrointestinal issues like heartburn
- Cardiovascular and circulatory systems: Sleep apnea increases the strain on a person's heart. It increases the risk of health issues like heart failure and strokes
- Nervous system: Central sleep apnea affect the neurological system, leading to symptoms like tingling and numbness
- Reproductive system: Sleep apnea can lead to reduced libido. It can also facilitate erectile dysfunction
Other effects of sleep apnea include:
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty concentrating
Who is most likely to have sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, but there are certain things that make a patient more likely to develop the condition. These include:
- Being overweight: Fat deposits in the airways can restrict a person breathing during sleep
- Neck width: Those with thicker necks are more likely to have restricted airways
- Sex: Men are more likely to have sleep apnea
- Age: Older individuals have a higher risk of developing issues that affect their airways
- Family history: People with a family history with sleep apnea are more likely to develop it
- Smoking: Smokers have a higher risk due to the inflammation and fluid retention in the airways tobacco smoke causes
The effects of sleep apnea go way beyond limiting how much restful sleep a person gets. It can lead to more severe problems like heart failure and heart disease. It can limit their quality of life. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat and manage the condition like wearing an oral appliance or using a continuous positive airway pressure device. Lifestyle changes, like losing weight or stopping habits like smoking, can reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.
There is relief around the corner
Sleep apnea can leave you feeling tired from the moment you get up in the morning. Stop by our Tempe office for evaluation and treatment, so you can get back to being your regular self.
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