Disruptive sleep and snoring happens to all of us every now and then. But what if it’s a regular occurrence? If you or your spouse have noticed that you are snoring on a regular basis, you’re drowsy, moody or groggy during the day, you may have obstructive sleep apnea. If these symptoms are happening because of OSA, it’s important you get treated right away. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious problems and become potentially dangerous.
OSA can raise your risk for other physical health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes. It can affect your mental wellbeing, and even make you a more dangerous driver. Diagnosis and professional treatment of sleep apnea can ease and cure some of these issues.
If you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from OSA, here are 8 risks they might face if they don’t seek treatment:
- High blood pressure: Sleep apnea can cause or worsen high blood pressure. The oxygen levels in your body will drop and cause disruptive sleep throughout the night. This stresses the body out and causes your body to produce more hormones which increases your blood pressure levels.
- Heart disease: Because of the low oxygen caused by OSA, people affected by the condition are more prone to heart attacks. Multiple episodes of low blood oxygen can lead to serious problems caused by an irregular heartbeat.
- Type 2 diabetes: OSA increases your risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
- Weight gain: Overweight or obese peple are more prone to sleep apnea. Extra weight can cause fatty deposits in your neck that block breathing at night. Those affected by OSA often find themselves craving junk food and sweets during the day because of low-energy levels and increased levels of the hormone ghrelin, meaning you can put on more weight if you leave OSA untreated.
- Daytime fatigue: Feeling fatigued, tired and drowsy is one of the most common symptoms of OSA. This can affect everything from your mood to your work. Left untreated, the long-term side effects of daytime fatigue can include poor mental health and reduced performance at work.
- Car accidents: Feeling groggy, fatigued and drowsy puts you at risk for falling asleep at the wheel. Untreated sufferers of sleep apnea are at a higher risk of traffic accidents than normal sleepers.
- Memory loss: Forgetfulness, memory slips and general memory troubles are linked with OSA. Treatment for OSA can prevent this from happening.
- Depression: Poor sleep can directly impact your mental health. If you’ve been suffering from poor sleep and mental health issues, professional health is crucial to help restore your general wellbeing.
As you can see, there are a lot of dangers at stake if you leave sleep apnea untreated. If you’ve been experiencing headaches, drowsiness, snoring, memory loss, grinding teeth at night or similar, it might be time to speak to a specialist.
At Marx Sleep Center, we’re ready to help you get a restful night’s sleep again. Contact us for an appointment with a sleep apnea specialist to learn more about treatment options.