The dangers of sleep apnea are often ignored by individuals who think sleep apnea or heavy snoring are simply facts of life they have to cope with. Others avoid seeking treatment because they fear the treatment recommended will be unpleasant, inconvenient or costly. There are many sleep apnea dangers that can be unhealthy or even fatal if left unchecked.
One of the most common dangers of sleep apnea is the consistent lack of truly restful, deep sleep. If you have apnea, you may wake up several times per hour without realizing it. The effects of this constant waking cycle are more dangerous than you would think. During the night, your airflow may stop for as long as ten seconds during an episode, and you may have several episodes every night. Although you do eventually wake up and start breathing again, there are long term side effects to this lack of oxygen.
Oxygen starvation is one of the most troubling dangers of sleep apnea because it can contribute toward a predisposition for strokes or heart attacks. Production of crucial growth hormones is tied to delta sleep, and many people with sleep apnea don't get a sufficient amount of delta sleep. Other sleep apnea dangers include reduced efficiency of the pituitary system and the hypothalamus.
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is the most restorative phase of the sleep cycle, but if you have sleep apnea, you aren't getting sufficient REM sleep because you're continually waking up to catch your breath. As a result, you'll feel sluggish, tired, and drained during the day. You may also have trouble concentrating or staying awake. One of the gravest dangers of sleep apnea is that you could fall asleep while driving or operating machinery, potentially harming others as well as yourself. You may also disturb your partner's sleep, making them an additional casualty of the dangers of sleep apnea.
The Many Dangers of Sleep Apnea:
Studies are continually shedding light on various sleep apnea dangers, but we already know that it has a significant affect on almost every body system if left untreated. The following problems have been definitively linked to sleep apnea:
• Heart attack
• High blood pressure
• Chronic pain syndromes such as Fibromyalgia
• Irregular heartbeat
• Short term memory problems
• Weight gain
• Lowered metabolism
• Acid reflux
• Cognitive impairment
• Temperamental behavior
If you suspect you're suffering from the dangers of sleep apnea, talk to your doctor and dentist to determine an effective treatment. Treatment will soon have you feeling better and resting soundly.