Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder wherein the breathing of a person can suddenly stop and start repeatedly during sleep. If a person makes loud snoring noises and feels fatigued after a full night of sleep, then he or she may be suffering from sleep apnea. Continue reading to learn more about this disorder and its common adverse effects.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three kinds of sleep apnea:
- Central Sleep Apnea – It is a disorder where the signals from the brain are not properly sent to the breathing controlling muscles.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea – This is the most common type of sleep apnea where the throat muscle is too relaxed than usual.
- Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome – This is a type of sleep disorder syndrome where a person has both the above types of sleep apnea.
Adverse Effects of Sleep Apnea
The common adverse effects of sleep apnea are discussed below.
1. Discomfort and Sleep Deprivation for Sleeping Partners
While you are snoring loudly, your partner is likely to be deprived of sleep. In the worst case, he or she may have to shift to another room to sleep.
2. Liver Problems
Sleep apnea has been shown to affect the functioning of the liver. The signs of scars can be seen in the result of liver function test.
3. Surgical and Medicinal Complications
A person with sleep apnea is prone to breathing issues due to which there can be complications with the use of general anesthesia and some medicines during surgery. So, inform your doctor about your disorder before proceeding with any surgery.
4. Metabolic Syndrome
Sleep apnea can cause metabolic syndrome, leading to health issues such as increase in waist size, high blood sugar, abnormal levels of cholesterol, increased triglycerides level, decreased level of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), and high blood pressure. All these lead to more chances of heart problems, stroke and diabetes. Consult with your physician for immediate treatment and also make healthy changes to your lifestyle.
5. Type 2 Diabetes
Sleep apnea can increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. At least 80% of people with type 2 diabetes have sleep apnea. The body will not be able to use the insulin properly due to a lack of proper sleep, which results in a diabetic condition in the body.
6. High Blood Pressure and Hypertension
Sleep apnea causes a sudden drop in oxygen levels in the blood due to intermittent pauses in breathing. This puts a strain on the cardiovascular system of the body. If a person has obstructive sleep apnea, then it can increase the chances of high blood pressure leading to hypertension. The body gets stressed due to frequent awakening at night, which leads to hormonal imbalance and increased blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure is likely to cause lots of health issues. So, it is important to diagnose the problem on time and get the right treatment.
7. Heart Issues
Sleep apnea can increase the risk of heart diseases such as atrial fibrillation (abnormally fast heartbeats), stroke, and recurring heart attack. If these heart diseases get severe, they could turn fatal when the level of oxygen in blood drops to dangerously low levels.
8. Fatigue During Daytime
People suffering from sleep apnea may wake up multiple times due to their own loud snoring sound. So, they fail to get a normal restorative sleep at night. This leads to many problems such as irritability, significant tiredness, and extreme drowsiness during the day. They may experience extreme mood swings such as depression, short-temperedness, and many other moods. Children suffering from this disorder will not be able to perform properly in school. Similarly, adults will not be able to perform at office. These are due to lack of focus and behavioral issues.
Without proper sleep, a sleep apnea patient is more likely to stay in depression. Some medicines can help improve mood as well as sleep.
10. Loss of Memory (Mild Cognitive Impairment)
Old people face extra memory loss or cognitive issues than other old people of the same age. Doctors refer to this condition as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). It has been found that people with sleep disorder or sleep apnea are more likely to develop this condition sooner than the expected age. If you don’t get treated for sleep apnea as soon as possible, then this condition can become worse.
11. Prone to Accidents
If a person with sleep apnea has not slept well, then he or she is five times more likely to meet with accidents than one who gets adequate sleep. The tiredness caused due to improper sleep can increase the chances of the person falling asleep anywhere in addition to making them lazy and lethargic.
12. Increase in Weight
Sleep apnea can make the person crave for more sweets and carbohydrate food items due to the release of ghrelin hormone in the body. This leads to extra gain in weight than usual. With extra weight gain around the neck and throat, snoring problems get worse. Patients suffering from sleep apnea should try to be more active and energetic to reduce weight and manage symptoms.
13. Lack of Focus
Sleep is a very important aspect of everyone’s life. If a person does not get a night of proper restorative sleep, then he or she may suffer from many cognitive functioning problems such as lack of focus or inability to concentrate during day time. Without proper focus, no job can be done properly, which will affect daily life activities.
Sleep apnea is a common condition that affects several people. You might not know that you are suffering from such a condition as it happens when you sleep, which means you may not be conscious or aware of what happens. However, your sleeping partner can notice this.
If you experience any sign or symptom of sleep apnea, then you should immediately consult your doctor for diagnosis and proper treatment so that you can overcome the symptoms at the earliest.
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