Sleep apnea affects upwards of 26% of the population of the United States, and many cases go either undiagnosed or untreated. This is made more complicated because many people don’t know the warning signs of sleep apnea, and because it occurs during sleep, it can be impossible to know if there are symptoms present. But leaving sleep apnea untreated is a bad idea. In fact, it can be deadly. Here’s why you should always treat sleep apnea, and how.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects mainly those ages 30 to 70. People with sleep apnea can come from any walk of life and be any weight, shape, or size, though it does predominantly affect those who are overweight or obese. It also occurs more frequently in smokers, those with heart disease, and those with diabetes. It can even worsen those conditions, as well as illnesses such as cancer, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes obstructed during sleep. Symptoms of sleep apnea include frequent waking, gasping for air during sleep, snoring, cognitive impairment during the day, and low blood oxygen levels.
If you notice any of those symptoms in yourself or someone you love, it is imperative to speak to your physician or Dr. Abelar about getting a sleep study done. While some sleep studies do require you to spend the night in a sleep clinic, some clinics offer home testing machinery that will allow you to test from the comfort of your own bed.
So, why test for sleep apnea? Here are some top reasons.
High Blood Pressure
Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a whole host of medical problems, the first of which is high blood pressure. High blood pressure damages your arteries, making them less elastic thus lowering their effectiveness at delivering blood to your heart. This in turn can lead to heart disease.
Heart disease is actually not one disease but can describe several different disease which affect the heart and increase the risk of having a heart attack.
Diabetes occurs when the body struggles to break down food into energy. When you are diabetic, your body cannot use or struggles to use the insulin your body creates to use for energy.
Asthma occurs when the airway becomes inflamed, causing it to narrow and fill with mucous, making it difficult to breathe.
A heart attack is when the blood flow to the heart is blocked by a blood clot.
A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is halted, depriving the brain of nutrients and oxygen.
Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety occur when the brain is unable to regulate the mood. It can be caused by genetics, trauma, and even sleep apnea.
Now that you know the dangerous side-effects of sleep apnea, don’t let another night go by without treating it. If you have sleep apnea and aren’t satisfied with your CPAP machine, speak to Dr. Abelar about a custom orthotic that will position your airway open without the use of machinery. To schedule a consultation, please contact Dr. Abelar’s office today!