Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes an involuntary cessation of breathing while a person is asleep. The disorder also makes people feel tired even after a full night’s rest. There are three main types of sleep apnea: Central, obstructive and complex sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of the disorder and it occurs when the throat muscles relax while sleeping. Central sleep apnea occurs when the muscles that control breathing do not receive the proper signals from the brain. Complex sleep apnea occurs when one has both central and obstructive sleep apnea.
What happens if you do not get treatment for your sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can have serious health consequences if left untreated.
Some of the complications associated with sleep apnea include:
High blood pressure
There is a drop in blood oxygen levels in people that suffer from sleep apnea. The disorder causes an increase in blood pressure, which strains the cardiovascular system. Having obstructive sleep apnea puts people at risk of hypertension and heart disease.
Sleep apnea puts people at risk of developing resistance to insulin, which increases their chances of having type 2 diabetes.
If one suffers from sleep apnea and has not been treated, they are likely to have scarring of the liver. That can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is a result of too much fat in the liver.
Suffering from obstructive sleep apnea is a concern when it comes to taking certain medications and general anesthesia. People with the disorder are likely to have complications after undergoing surgery because they have breathing problems, especially when they lay on their backs.
People who are scheduled to undergo major surgery should make sure their doctor knows that they suffer from sleep apnea and the medication they are taking to treat the disorder.
Having sleep apnea makes it difficult to get a good night’s rest because the disorder causes repeated awakenings while the person is sleeping. Due to the lack of a good night’s rest, people dealing with sleep apnea are usually fatigued during the day, and in some cases, very irritable. People with sleep apnea are also more likely to fall asleep while driving and experience workplace accidents.
Sleep apnea treatment options
Sleep apnea can be treated in a variety of ways, depending on how mild or severe the condition is. For milder cases, the physician will recommend making lifestyle changes like exercise or a change in diet.
If the case is moderate to severe, the physician will recommend therapeutic options like a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This machine delivers air pressure through a mask while the patient sleeps. If neither option works, the physician will recommend surgery to fix the problem.
Sleep apnea makes it difficult to get a good night’s rest and if the disorder is left untreated, it can lead to more serious health problems. If you are dealing with sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with your doctor to get treatment.
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