The Hidden Consequences of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is more than just an annoying sleep disorder. It’s bigger and more dangerous than simply snoring. It has been dubbed a silent killer and ends more lives than medical records will ever show. A cause of death may list a “heart attack” or “stroke”, however, there’s potentially an underlying cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to blame.
More than 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, yet even more alarming, 80% of people with moderate and severe OSA have not yet been diagnosed. It’s important you’re aware of the risk factors so that you are prepared for the fight and treat these deadly consequences.
Sleep Apnea-Related Accidents
People suffering from sleep apnea are 15 times more likely to be in a car accident due drowsiness, lack of concentration, and sleep deprivation. They are 6 times more likely to die behind the wheel.
In addition to the OSA-sufferer, the sleep partner of someone with sleep apnea can lose up to an hour of sleep per night, due to the disruption of their partner’s snoring and gasping for air.
Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease
More than 38,000 people die every year from cardiovascular problems caused by sleep apnea. The poor airflow and lack of oxygen put a strain on the heart, lungs and brain.
When your heart is regularly under stress, it has to work extra hard to keep up. A strain on your heart and your blood vessels leads to lifelong illnesses and hypertension or can result in more dire results like stroke or heart attack.
Sleep Apnea Is Related To Mental Health Issues
Many people with sleep apnea also experience mental health issues like depression and general anxiety. Not only are they irritable from a lack of sleep, but the nightly fight to survive, causes the brain to remain in a constant state of panic.
The disturbing struggle to find your next breath builds a pattern in your brain in which it cannot decipher the terror it is experiencing between your airway failing versus someone literally wrapping their hands around your throat and squeezing.
Do you frequently hear complaints from your spouse or partner that they’ve just about had it with your snoring? Or have you ever gone to bed together, but woke up solo, with them curled up on the couch? If so, you may be headed towards a sleep divorce.
A sleep divorce occurs when your partner is driven to sleep in another room due to our loud snoring. Your OSA may be putting a strain on your relationship or your partner’s well-being. In fact, people who sleep beside someone with sleep apnea, on average, lose up to an hour of sleep per night due to their partner’s frequent gasping and snorting at night.
Other Medical Conditions Linked to Sleep Apnea
People with sleep apnea are 4 times more likely to have a stroke and 3 times more likely to die prematurely. OSA sufferers are also more likely to develop diabetes, liver disease, and sexual dysfunction.
The disruption of airflow and lack of oxygen puts extreme stress and strain on the body. This nightly pattern -- of what is essentially strangulation -- puts every system in hyperdrive.
Obstructive sleep apnea becomes more prevalent with age. In order to maintain good sleep is a requirement for good health. OSA can be very dangerous but is very treatable.
If you have any of these symptoms or suspect you may have sleep apnea, we can help. Simply schedule an appointment to get started.