Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes people to stop breathing briefly while sleeping. The breath stoppage triggers partial arousal from sleep and reduces sleep quality. If you or your partner have been diagnosed with the condition, it is reasonable to have questions. Learning about the condition and the treatment options will help you handle…
A General Dentist Discusses The Risks of Not Treating Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition that leads to interruptions to your breathing while you sleep. This forces your brain to momentarily wake up to restart your breathing. People with mild sleep apnea might experience these interruptions a few times each night. Those with more severe cases can get over a hundred interruptions in a single night. This reduces their quality of life and it makes them more susceptible to a variety of health issues.
Health risks of untreated sleep apnea
Ignoring sleep apnea is never a good idea since it makes a person more susceptible to a variety of health issues. Sleep apnea can also be a sign of undiagnosed health issues. Getting evaluated for the condition can lead to the discovery of other health conditions. Here are some of the risks of not having sleep apnea treated:
1. Makes you more vulnerable to chronic conditions
Sleep apnea can worsen existing chronic issues or lead to them becoming worse. Chronic health issues that have been linked to sleep apnea include:
- Heart disease: Waking up multiple times during the night places extra stress on the heart. This increases a person’s risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. A person with sleep apnea is also more likely to die suddenly due to an irregular heartbeat caused by having low oxygen levels in the blood
- High blood pressure: Sleep apnea can worsen or lead to hypertension. The frequent interruptions to a person’s sleep place lots of stress on their body. The result is high blood pressure
- Stroke: When left untreated, sleep apnea increases a person’s risk of suffering a stroke
- Diabetes: Sleep apnea has been linked with Type 2 diabetes. Studies show that about 80% of people with diabetes also have sleep apnea. Researchers believe the interruptions to sleep hinder the body’s ability to process sugars with insulin
- Liver problems: People with sleep apnea have an increased risk of fatty liver disease
- Depression: Being sleep deprived due to interruptions to sleep can lead to a person feeling fatigued and irritable during the day. This makes them more vulnerable to mental health issues like depression
2. Can lead to dementia
People who are not well-rested often have difficulty thinking clearly. Sleep apnea can lead to a person’s cognitive abilities declining and the development of dementia. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a study conducted in 2014 shows people with sleep apnea were more likely to have microinfarcts (mini-strokes) and increased brain tissue atrophy.
3. Increase your risk of developing cancer
A study that included over 5.6 million people showed that people with certain cancers like kidney, pancreatic, or melanoma cancer are more likely to have developed sleep apnea. The study also showed that people with sleep apnea are more likely to die from cancer.
Get back to feeling well-rested
Call our Salida clinic if you think you have sleep apnea. Our dentist can evaluate you and educate you about your options.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Sleep Apnea in Salida, CA.
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