7 Health Risks of Sleep Apnea

Man suffering from narcolepsy - sleepy at workSpending the evening snoring results in a lousy night’s sleep for both you and your partner. While it’s common for most people to experience this disorder at some stage of their life, persistent, aggressive snoring is a sign of a more severe problem.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is a breathing disorder affecting overweight and obese individuals. The condition occurs when the airways are obstructed during sleep, preventing the affected individual from normal breathing.

OSA is characterised by deep snoring, followed by periods where the individual may not breathe at all for a few minutes. This condition raises the risk of other health issues such as diabetes and hypertension. Here are seven adverse health conditions exasperated by OSA.

1. Heart Disease

Individuals suffering from OSA are at higher risk of experiencing a heart attack. A lack of oxygen places stresses on the cardiovascular system, resulting in reduced oxygenation of blood. Other severe cardiovascular issues affecting individuals suffering from OSA include; arterial fibrillation (a rapid fluttering of the heart,) and stroke.

2. High Blood Pressure

If you already suffer from hypertension, OSA can worsen your condition. Stress-induced by frequent waking during the night and decreased oxygen flow elevates hormone production, raising blood pressure. Individuals treated for OSA may find some relief from high blood pressure. After undergoing treatment for the condition, doctors may scale back on the patients’ blood pressure medication.

3. Weight Gain

Overweight and obese individuals are at higher risk of developing OSA. Fat deposits in the back of the neck place pressure on the airways, eventually resulting in the development of apnea. Unfortunately, the onset of OSA may further their bodyweight issues due to an acceleration in the production of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for creating hunger.

4.Type-2 Diabetes

Over 80% of individuals suffering from OSA also have type-2 diabetes. Obesity raises individual risk for both of these disorders. Although no certified medical studies are linking the two, the anecdotal evidence suggests they have a strong correlation with each other. A lack of sleep affects insulin sensitivity, disrupting the body’s ability to assimilate carbohydrates efficiently. When the pancreas loses its ability to produce insulin, symptoms of diabetes will present themselves in the affected individual.

5. Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is another condition with anecdotal evidence showing links to OSA. Studies show that treating OSA reduces the symptoms of acid reflux and vice versa.

6. Adult Asthma

Research from the Centers for Disease Control shows that over 26-million Americans, or one in every 13 adults, suffer from the effects of asthma. While there is no conclusive evidence supporting a link between asthma and OSA, doctors insist that treating the symptoms of OSA reduce asthmatic issues in adults.

7. Automobile Accidents

Individuals suffering from OSA rarely experience a good night’s sleep. They frequently wake, often in a violent manner. A lack of sleep results in decreased cognitive function, making individuals suffering from OSA feel groggy and sleepy upon rising in the morning. While no official statistics exist to support the link between OSA and car accidents, its common sense to expect that a lack of sleep will result in hindered awareness behind the wheel.

Treating OSA

Visit the health professionals at Southcentre Dental Clinic for a consultation. It’s possible to treat the condition using mouthpieces and specialised equipment that keep the airways open while you sleep, eliminating OSA and restoring your sleep.