The sheer mechanics of sleep apnea is more than enough reason for people to seek treatment. When you suffer from sleep apnea, you literally stop breathing for seconds at a time.
But besides the obvious issue of not being able to catch your breath when you’re fast asleep, sleep apnea can cause a surprisingly large number of issues down the road.
These consequences often get worse the longer that sleep apnea continues, too, which makes early diagnosis and treatment all the more essential.
So what can sleep apnea impact outside of the obvious inability to breathe? The answers may be more surprising than you think.
1. Heart Attack and Other Heart Issues
Research has proven people who have sleep apnea are more likely to have a heart attack. The low oxygen and the stress of “waking up” often leads to a fluttering and feast heartbeat.
Also, the disruption to how your body takes in oxygen simply puts added pressure on the heart, which has to keep up with the unnatural interruptions.
From the arteries to the brain itself, all things go through the heart, and an interruption that happens regularly throughout the night can cause a myriad of long-term issues.
2. High Blood Pressure
Research has shown people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure may worsen the condition when sleep apnea is involved.
After being awakened multiple times per night, the body naturally gets stressed, which in turn makes hormone levels go into overdrive trying to correct or address the issue.
So, a person with high blood pressure should be tested for sleep apnea, and vice versa. Because both conditions go hand-in-hand on a regular basis, and addressing one often involves addressing the other.
3. Acid Reflux
The tie between acid reflux and sleep apnea is just starting to be explored, although the two are linked according to a wide range of studies.
Treatment for sleep apnea has been shown to help acid reflux according to recent research, and this connection makes sense. With sleep apnea, you wake up multiple times per night, and it’s much easier to stay awake when symptoms of acid reflux are present.
4. Obesity and Weight Gain
If you have sleep apnea, your energy levels are depleted during the daytime, simply because you did not obtain the sleep required to be awake and alert.
A lack of sleep can lead to so many factors that cause weight gain – from reaching for high energy yet sugary snacks, to preceding exercise simply because you don’t have the motivation or energy resources. As such, sleep apnea and weight gain are a natural pairing.
5. Type 2 Diabetes
Having sleep apnea can worsen symptoms for people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. More than 80% of people with type 2 diabetes have sleep apnea, which results in a risk of weight gain, as well as increased pressure put on the heart.
Most importantly, not sleeping enough effects the body’s ability to produce insulin as needed, which leads to diabetes in the first place.
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