When you have sleep apnea, probably the most immediately noticeable sign will be loud snoring. The sound will be enough to keep your bed mate awake, and that can make for some very unenjoyable nights and a tense relationship. Sadly, though, snoring is far from your biggest concern; living with sleep apnea can lead to numerous health issues – and might even put your life in danger. Learn more about 4 hidden consequences of a sleep disorder that you need to be aware of.
1. High Blood Pressure and Heart Problems
Sleep apnea forces your body to wake up for oxygen multiple times during the night. This causes a surge of hormones that can increase your blood pressure. This raises your risk for a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. And of course, the low oxygen levels in your blood will do little to help your heart health. Your blood pressure will improve if you have your sleep apnea treated, but leaving the problem alone for too long will only allow it to get worse as time passes.
2. Weight Gain
You may have already heard that obesity can lead to sleep apnea when the fatty deposits in your neck collapse and block the airway. However, the connection goes the other way as well. Poor quality sleep can cause your body to release a hormone called ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry. As a result, you might find yourself eating more than you normally would. Furthermore, when your body is tired, it will have trouble turning food into energy. In other words, you’ll eat more food, but your body won’t be able to use it well, and you’ll gain weight.
3. Type 2 Diabetes
As of now, studies have not yet shown that sleep apnea causes type 2 diabetes. That said, it is true that patients with diabetes are also extremely likely to also suffer from a sleep disorder. This is likely because both conditions are linked to obesity. Another contributing factor is that a lack of sleep can affect your body’s ability to use insulin properly, making any previously existing diabetes worse.
4. Excessive Drowsiness
When you have sleep apnea, you’ll frequently find yourself feeling groggy during the day. While this might not seem like an issue at first, it can easily lead to traffic accidents if you fall asleep while driving. In fact, people with sleep apnea are five times more likely to end up in a wreck!
The above health problems might sound frightening, but you can often avoid them by receiving treatment for your sleep apnea. Fortunately, there are several options available, such as oral appliance therapy or CPAP machines. Talk to your dentist today to learn how you can get a good night’s sleep that will keep your body safe!
About the Author
Dr. Mitch Conditt became a sleep apnea patient in 2009 and learned firsthand the relief that oral appliance therapy could provide. Today, he is proud to specialize in sleep dentistry so that he can help other patients improve the quality of their lives by treating their sleep disorders. To schedule an appointment at his practice in Fort Worth, visit his website or call (817) 527-8500.