The dangers of sleep apnoea are more known than ever, but few people truly understand the risks. The effect which untreated sleep apnoea has upon your health can be severe, or even fatal, so getting in contact with a medical professional should be seen as crucial to anyone who thinks they may be suffering.
Here are just a few of the medical conditions which can be caused by sleep apnoea.
High Blood Pressure
Sleep apnoea is strongly linked to high blood pressure – otherwise referred to as hypertension. This is because pauses in breathing activates your body’s ‘fight or flight’ mode. The hormonal imbalance which this creates is associated with a spike in blood pressure. When this occurs over and over throughout the night, your blood pressure no longer spikes and dips, but simply stays elevated.
Hypertension can also be aggravated by low levels of oxygen in the blood, and is a serious risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, treatment for sleep apnoea can help stabilise the problem.
Heart Attack or Stroke
Those who suffer from sleep apnoea are more likely to suffer from heart attacks during the night. This may be caused by either the disrupted oxygen flow to the brain – which makes it harder to regulate blood flow – or by the repeated stress of waking frantically from sleep.
Strokes can also be caused by sleep apnoea, and carry the potential for serious disability or even death. Research has also demonstrated that people with sleep apnoea recover from strokes slower than the general population.
Not all health-related consequences of sleep apnoea are associated with the physical. Those who suffer without seeking treatment frequently develop depression, and find that the condition is increasingly disruptive when attempting to live a normal living.
Sleep apnoea lessens the amount of time spent sleeping each night, even going so far as to cause insomnia. The constant lack of sleep quickly becomes demotivating, holding people back throughout the day, and often causing depression.
Avoiding these problems should start right away. Don’t delay in contacting a medical professional to arrange a sleep study if you have experienced any symptoms of sleep apnoea.