Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep conditions in America. It’s been estimated that up to 22% of Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and up to 80% of people with sleep apnea are undiagnosed. But is it really a big deal? Can sleep apnea really cause serious health problems? The answer is “yes,” and in this blog from Parkside Dental, we’ll explain what can happen if you don't seek treatment for your apnea.
First and foremost, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) makes it hard to get restful, relaxing sleep. With sleep apnea, you may have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and you may feel fatigued and tired, even after you have slept for 7-8 hours or longer.
You may have trouble focusing on work or at school, experience a lower libido (sex drive), and experience changes in your mood like irritation, anxiety, or even depression. You may even feel drowsy or fall asleep while driving, which could lead to a higher risk of a serious accident.
People with obstructive sleep apnea have a higher likelihood of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. OSA is also associated with obesity and being overweight, so people who are overweight and have sleep apnea may be even more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Sleep apnea interrupts proper respiration. When you can’t breathe properly at night, your blood oxygen levels drop suddenly, which can cause spikes in blood pressure and put stress on your heart and cardiovascular system.
This means that sleep apnea can dramatically increase your risk of high blood pressure, and corresponding health conditions like heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular problems. According to one study, sleep apnea raises your risk of heart failure by 140%, and your risk of having a stroke by 60%.
Obstructive sleep apnea has also been found to have a negative effect on liver health. It’s associated with an increase in liver enzymes, and a higher risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which can eventually result in cirrhosis and liver failure.
Metabolic syndrome is a term used to refer to a group of related conditions that include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and a few other conditions that affect cardiovascular health and raise the risk of type 2 diabetes. Obstructive sleep apnea has been shown to correlate to a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
If you think you have sleep apnea, Parkside Dental is here to help. We specialize in airway dentistry and sleep apnea treatment in Murphy. Dr. Jason and Dr. Jean Larsen can help you get the care you need to protect your health. Contact us online or give us a call at (972) 442-7550 to get in touch with our team and schedule a consultation today.