Side effects of untreated sleep apnea Slipopolis

Side effects of untreated sleep apnea Slipopolis

If you have ever woken up gasping for breath or a loved one notices your breathing has stopped while you are sleeping, there is a chance that you have Sleep Apnea.

Sleep apnea affects billion people Around the world, experts say 17% of women and 34% of men In America they have the condition. Although it affects approximately one in five people, many do not know they have it – they appreciate More than eight out of ten People with undiagnosed sleep apnea.

“Sleep apnea is a devastating disease. Apnea means ‘without breathing,’ so a person with sleep apnea sleeps without breathing,” says Dr. Crystal Morris, sleep medicine specialist and founder of real sleep.

Carlos Nunez, MD, chief medical officer at semol Echoes of Morris’ statement. “People with sleep apnea suffocate every night while they sleep, and many have no idea,” he says.

If choking isn’t an adequate warning, there are a host of side effects that have been linked to untreated sleep apnea – read on to learn more.

Note: The content on Sleepopolis is intended to be informational in nature, but should not be considered medical advice, nor should it replace medical advice and supervision from a trained professional. If you feel you may be experiencing any sleep disorder or medical condition, please see your healthcare provider immediately.

What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?

Many people with sleep apnea do not know they have it. Symptoms vary from person to person and may be mild, moderate, or severe. Some people with sleep apnea are asymptomatic, which means that they do not have symptoms even though they have the condition.

Symptoms of sleep apnea can be divided into daytime and nighttime symptoms. Each of them can adversely affect a person’s quality of life and professional performance, increasing, for example, his risk of motor vehicle accidents, ” Ben BuschterMD, PhD, physician and postdoctoral fellow who studies sleep apnea at Stanford University.

Nocturnal symptoms may include:

Daytime symptoms include:

  • Problems with memory, concentration and intellectual tasks
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • excessive sleepiness
  • uncomfortable sleep
  • emotional imbalance
  • morning headache
  • decreased libido
  • fatigue

Symptoms progress gradually, and many patients reduce the severity of drowsiness so that their daytime functions and activities are severely affected, Buschter says.

in addition to, Research The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published a finding that women had more severe daytime symptoms than men with the same picture. Moreover, experts have found that women also More likely to be underdiagnosed Because their symptoms do not always follow expected patterns, which makes it even more important to test women if they suspect they have sleep apnea.

Effects of untreated sleep apnea

Untreated sleep apnea can have wide-ranging effects on your health and longevity — it disrupts many systems and functions in your body, including your nervous system, immune system, and metabolism.

When these systems are not working properly, it is difficult for your body to recover, manage energy, or eliminate threats. Without these vital reconstructive processes, extensive damage to the body’s organs and tissues can occur, eventually leading to disease.

“Many people don’t realize that sleep apnea not only affects the quality of your sleep and prevents you from getting adequate rest, but can have additional devastating consequences if it’s not diagnosed or treated,” Nunez says. “Untreated sleep apnea can negatively affect your energy, mood, and relationships, as well as your ability to work and drive safely in the short term.. In the long term, it is associated with chronic and life-threatening diseases, including High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetesNunez says.

We delve a little deeper into some of the conditions associated with untreated sleep apnea below.

Increased risk of type 2 diabetes

Researchers found that people with moderate to severe sleep apnea were also More likely to get type 2 diabetes Even if they don’t have any other risk factors.

Researchers believe inflammation, low oxygen levels, and the way sleep apnea disrupts nervous system function are responsible for the increased risk. They also found that people with diabetes and sleep apnea had difficulty controlling their blood sugar and were more likely to develop complications.


Researchers have found that people with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to have More likely to get cancer of those who do not have the condition. Another study found The more severe the sleep apnea, the higher the risk of developing tumors and cancer.

Although the exact mechanisms aren’t clear, sleep apnea causes your nervous and immune systems to malfunction, which can make it difficult for your body to recognize and eliminate cancer cells.

It’s important to note that having sleep apnea does not mean that there will be a definitive diagnosis of cancer in the future, but the possibility of increased risk highlights the importance of testing and treatment.

Increased risk of stroke

Sleep apnea has been identified As an independent risk factor for stroke. The researchers also found that untreated sleep apnea can lead to a recurrence of previous strokes in patients.

Sleep apnea releases chemicals that cause inflammation. These chemicals damage blood vessels, which can eventually cut off the brain’s blood supply, causing a stroke.

Increased risk of heart attack and other heart diseases

Researchers have proven it Significantly increases sleep apnea danger from Heart attacks and coronary artery disease.

We mentioned that sleep apnea can damage the blood vessels in the brain and cause a stroke. It can also damage the blood vessels that supply the heart, which can lead to a heart attack.

In addition, the restricted access to oxygen that occurs with obstructive sleep apnea can cause a Increased risk of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressureAll of these are risk factors for heart disease.

Search It also identified sleep apnea as an independent risk A factor for many cardiovascular diseases, including Heart failure, arrhythmia, and high blood pressure.


Although the relationship between sleep apnea and glaucoma is still relatively unclear, research has shown that people with obstructive sleep apnea may experience Increased risk of developing the conditionwhich can cause blindness.


Sleep apnea may also occur It makes people more likely to gain weight. Researchers believe that not sleeping well at night and sleepiness during the day alters metabolism — how your body stores and uses energy — leading to weight gain. Sleep apnea also changes the way your body produces hormones related to appetite and satiety: leptin, the hormone that promotes satisfaction after meals, is decreased, while ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger, is increased.

Shortening of life and sudden death

published a study In the BMJ Open Respiratory Research Journal Found people with sleep apnea Low chance of sudden death than their unaffected counterparts.

Researchers believe this is related to the effects of sleep apnea on the body including disrupting nervous system function, increasing chronic inflammation, and weakening the immune system. As a result, the heart is subjected to stress that may cause sudden death.

Life expectancy for sleep apnea

Once again, the importance of treating sleep apnea for a long, healthy life is clear: Experts estimate that untreated sleep apnea can reduce life expectancy by more than a decade.

Many people die prematurely from untreated sleep apnea. “Treating sleep apnea can add 7-10 years to your lifespan,” Morris says.

Diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea

Although all of this may sound scary, the good news is that sleep apnea is incredibly treatable. A doctor can diagnose the condition — they may ask questions about your sleep, mood, energy levels, and how long you have had symptoms. Doctors may check your blood pressure, heart rate, and weight.

In addition, they may ask you to undergo tests such as polysomnography or home polysomnography.

  • sleep planning. During this test, equipment that monitors your breathing patterns, body movements, blood oxygen levels, lung function, and brain and heart activity is attached to your body while you sleep.
  • Home sleep tests. Your doctor may give you some tests to do at home to confirm the diagnosis.

These tests usually measure blood pressure, heart rate, air flow, breathing pattern and blood oxygen levels while you sleep. You can have a relative or someone who lives with you who records these values ​​for you.

treatment options

Sleep apnea treatment ranges. Doctors may recommend lifestyle changes, surgery, treatment of any accompanying conditions, and the most common treatment device, CPAP.

Lifestyle change. Your doctors may recommend lifestyle changes to control symptoms. This may mean adjusting your diet or getting more exercise to help shed any extra pounds that may be contributing to the condition.

Pharyngeal exercises. Mouth movement exercises can improve the posture and strength of your facial muscles, which can lead to less snoring and improve all indicators of sleep. These exercises include lip drawing, chin gestures, cheek puffing, and more.

surgery. Sleep apnea caused by airway obstruction can occur It is treated with surgery, although the exact procedure depends on the part of the blocked airways. It should be noted that surgery is not an overly common recommendation, and qualifying for it may be unlikely.

Treating associated conditions. Your doctors will also treat any conditions that contribute to your infection.

CPAP. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is widely used to treat sleep apnea. The machine delivers an air pressure greater than atmospheric pressure through a mask while you sleep. This keeps the airways open, and controls apnea and snoring. Other forms of airway decompression therapy or oxygen supplements may be used to treat the condition.

Of course, new research and treatment options are always in the pipeline — lately InspiresIt is the only implantable device approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of sleep apnea, and it has made waves for its revolutionary approach to treating sleep apnea.

The last word of Sleeppopolis

While the side effects of untreated sleep apnea are frightening, the good news is that there are effective treatment options that can help protect you from developing these conditions. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, talk to your healthcare provider for testing and treatment plans – sleep apnea is incredibly treatable, so there’s no reason to suffer in silence.

Jessica Banks

Jessica Banks is a health editor at Slipopolis. Leading the way in all things evergreen, they aim to help people get a good night’s sleep whether they’re struggling with a sleep disorder, looking for new sleep-appropriate snacks, or trying to get their best night’s sleep on the go.

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