What are the Associated Problems of Sleep Apnea?
The effects of sleep apnea vary from person to person but there are many associated problems and very dangerous side effects that have been proven if your sleep apnea goes untested. If you suffer from sleep apnea, then your body is not getting the oxygen that it needs to function properly.
Many patients with sleep apnea also have high blood pressure. This is because the heart has to pump harder to compensate for the lack of oxygen. The strength of your heart will start to deteriorate and it will begin pumping blood at a much lower force than is necessary to continue the proper function of the body if the condition is not treated. The heart is the first organ that experiences the results of untreated sleep apnea.
The book below is an excellent resource on the topic of the effects of sleep apnea. Note that a new page will be displayed when the image or link is clicked.
Here is a list of a growing number of health problems that, if left untreated, include:
- High blood pressure – sleep apnea puts stress on the heart and can damage the blood vessels
- Eyes – low oxygen levels in the blood can damage the nerve that links your eyes to your brain which can cause the disease known as glaucoma. Sleep apnea has also been linked to another disease called floppy eyelid syndrome whereby the eyelids don’t fully protect the eye when you sleep
- Fatty liver – sleep apnea and fatty liver both share something in common in that they occur in people who are overweight or obese. Researchers used to believe that sleep apnea and fatty liver were unrelated but new studies suggest that they may be strongly linked together with sleep apnea. The severity of fatty liver in a person is often attributed to the severity of their sleep apnea. The fat in the liver can turn into scar tissue, which can lead to liver failure
- Irregular heart beats, heart attacks, heart failure, or stroke – sleep apnea puts stress on the heart and can damage the blood vessels
- Diabetes – poor sleep and insufficient oxygen in your blood make it harder for your body to process insulin which helps to control your blood sugar. This raises the risk of you getting diabetes
- Depression – untreated sleep disorders may result in reduced oxygen levels to the brain and interrupted sleep. Poor quality sleep might worsen depression symptoms
- Lungs – having sleep apnea can raise the blood pressure in your lungs which can worsen breathing problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Sleep apnea may also increase nighttime asthma
- Poor memory and thinking problems – sleep apnea has been linked to brain damage which may be because of reduced oxygen levels to the brain cells
The following video explains in further detail what the effects of untreated sleep apnea can have on a person.
The effects of sleep apnea can be severe for both the person who has it as well as their family members. Witnessing someone waking up gasping for air is a scary thing to see and family members’ sleeping patterns can also be interrupted as well.
Untreated sleep apnea in adults may also lead to poor performance in everyday activities such as at work or at school. Children and adolescents may also suffer academically in school because they are unable to focus properly.
You can find other books on the topic of sleep apnea here. Please drop me a comment if you have found another book that you found informative on the topic of sleep apnea.