Five Serious Health Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea
September 2, 2022
Every night, millions of people miss out on countless hours of sleep because of sleep apnea—and even worse, many more cases go completely undiagnosed! But your ability to rest isn’t the only thing that’s negatively impacted by the condition; if left unaddressed, sleep apnea can actually lead to some pretty serious health concerns! Here’s more from your dentist in Fresno about five serious health consequences that can result from untreated sleep apnea.
1. Higher Blood Pressure
Since sleep apnea makes you wake up periodically throughout the night, your body doesn’t just miss out on a lot of rest—it becomes stressed out, too! This can lead to your hormone systems going into overdrive, which boosts your blood pressure levels. Additionally, the level of oxygen in your blood drops when you can’t breathe well, which only adds to the problem. And if you already suffer from hypertension, sleep apnea can easily make it worse.
2. Memory Loss
Sometimes older people can have lapses in memory or difficulty thinking that they ascribe to their age. These symptoms, although not as serious as those attributed to dementia or Alzheimer’s, are still enough to impair one’s well-being. And research suggests that these memory slips can show up sooner in patients with sleep apnea!
3. Daytime Fatigue
This is one of the most obvious consequences of sleep apnea, but a serious one, nonetheless! Daytime fatigue can affect how you think, feel, and act throughout the day. Not to mention, when you feel groggy, you raise your risk of falling asleep at the wheel, which can lead to car wrecks. In fact, people with sleep apnea are five times more likely than normal sleepers to have traffic accidents!
4. Heart Disease
People who suffer from sleep apnea are also more likely to have heart attacks, due to the lowered oxygen levels that stem from the condition. Sleep apnea disrupts your body’s oxygen intake, which makes it difficult for your brain to regulate your blood flow. Strokes and atrial fibrillation, which is indicated by a fast and fluttering heartbeat, are also linked with the condition.
Patients who suffer from sleep apnea are also at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Although this relationship is still being studied, there’s a clear link between not getting enough shuteye and your body’s production and use of insulin. Obesity has also been connected to both of these disorders, meaning that maintaining a healthy weight can combat both diabetes and sleep apnea.
If you suspect that your overall health is being impacted by sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to speak with your dentist about possible treatment options.
About the Author
Dr. Byron Reintjes received his dental doctorate from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry and has proudly served patients and families in the Fresno area for over 30 years! His practice is pleased to offer a wide range of services including sleep apnea treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about sleep apnea or would like to arrange a visit, you can contact Dr. Reintjes through his practice’s website or over the phone for assistance: (559) 438-6684.
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