Sleep apnea puts tremendous strain on the cardiovascular system because of oxygen desaturation and a combination heart-rate and blood-pressure spikes that typically accompany interrupted breathing. Interruptions in breathing can be caused by the airway fully or partially collapsing while sleeping. Partial collapses manifest as snoring and full collapses appear as pauses in breathing followed by gasping, snorting or choking. Sleep apnea is strongly correlated with multiple cardiovascular compilations such as high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
Sleep apnea also associated with diabetes, weight gain, difficultly losing weight, and excessive hunger. Weight gain exacerbates sleep apnea, causing a vicious cycle of continued weight gain and worsening sleep apnea. Both men and women suffer from sleep apnea, but it is often more common in men and more common as people age.
Sleep apnea negatively impacts sleep and mental health functioning as well. Sleep apnea causes nighttime oxygen desaturation and interrupts the normal sleep cycle, there is also a negative effect on the brain and overall mental health. Sleep apnea has been associated with depression, a decrease in cognitive ability, memory problem, anxiety and other cognitive and emotional problems.
There are other health risks and complications of untreated sleep apnea. Here is our top 10 list of health complications associated with sleep apnea:
1. Daytime fatigue
2. Cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease
3. Type 2 Diabetes
4. Obesity and weight gain
6. Erectile dysfunction and lower sex drive
7. Acid reflux or GERD
8. Increase in motor vehicle accidents and work related injuries
9. Migraines and headaches
10. Decrease in cognitive ability and memory recall
If you don’t have healthy sleep, you are not completely healthy and the effects will manifest sooner or later. If you have sleep apnea and you are not treating it, you are paying the price with your overall health and well-being and the long-term effects can even be life threatening.
If you have questions or concerns about treating sleep apnea with dental appliances and you live in San Francisco, please click here to request a complementary one-on-one consultation with Dr. Douglas Chenin.