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What Happens If Sleep Apnea Isn’t Treated?

September 16, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — ecoontz @ 1:08 pm
Young man with sleep apnea lying in bed

At a glance, sleep apnea might just seem like a nuisance, as oftentimes the most obvious symptom is loud snoring that keeps your bed mate up at night. As such, you might think you can just learn to live with it. But ignoring sleep apnea for too long has serious consequences for your health, and in the worst-case scenario it might even put your life at risk. Below are 5 possible health consequences of a sleep disorder that highlight the important of getting sleep apnea therapy in Albuquerque as soon as you can.

1. High Blood Pressure

Sleep apnea causes you to wake up often during the night, which stresses the body out and causes blood pressure to rise. If you already have elevated blood pressure levels, then sleep apnea can make the problem even worse. High blood pressure can weaken your arteries and eventually lead to an aneurysm; it can also damage your heart, your brain, and various other parts of your body, leading to all kinds of health problems.

2. Heart Disease

People with sleep apnea are more likely to have heart attacks thanks to low oxygen levels. The condition affects the body’s ability to take in oxygen, meaning your brain will have increased difficulty controlling the flow of blood in your arteries, potentially leading to cardiac arrest. The likelihood of a potentially fatal heart problem occurring increases the longer sleep apnea goes unaddressed.

3. Type 2 Diabetes

About 80% or more of type 2 diabetes patients also have sleep apnea. While there’s no evidence that these two conditions directly cause each other, a lack of sleep can make type 2 diabetes worse as it can stop your body from using insulin properly. Treating sleep apnea is therefore crucial if you want to keep your diabetes under control.

4. Weight Gain

You’ve probably heard that being overweight can cause sleep apnea, but did you know that the reverse is also true? A lack of sleep can cause your body to produce more ghrelin, a hormone that makes you hungry and may induce a craving for carbohydrates and sugar. Moreover, the constant drowsiness associated with sleep apnea can inhibit your ability to turn food into energy. In other words, you’ll be eating more and exercising less, leading to excessive weight gain.

5. Memory Loss

Your brain consolidates information and commits it to long and short-term memory while you’re asleep. However, sleep apnea can disrupt this process, often preventing you from even reaching the stages of sleep where the consolidation even takes place. As a result, sleep apnea is linked to several kinds of memory problems, including Alzheimer’s.

These are just some of the ways that sleep apnea in Albuquerque can affect your health. Thankfully, the proper treatment will allow you to manage – and in some cases cure – these issues. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, don’t delay in calling a sleep expert for help.

About the Author

Dr. Eric Coontz has over 45 years of experience, meaning he brings an unmatched level of expertise to every exam and treatment he performs. He has taken countless hours of advanced training for dental sleep medicine, and he is a Diplomate of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy. He offers a variety of solutions for sleep apnea, so if you think you’re suffering from a sleep disorder, set up a consultation with him at Craniofacial Sleep Medicine and TMJ via his website or by calling (505) 433-2107.

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