Sleep apnea, also known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is a temporary pause in breathing during a sleep cycle. It is characterized by the narrowing of the airway, which restricts breathing and can stop it temporarily. This can occur hundreds of times throughout the course of a night’s sleep. Sleep apnea can have a dramatic impact on an individual's life in numerous ways. Keep reading to discover how it affects health now.
Dealing With Daytime Sleepiness
The quality of an individual's sleep is significant, as if they are getting a poor quality of sleep, it can result in them feeling more tired throughout the day. Sleep apnea is assessed to be a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness. That alone can lead to various issues, such as with driving which may result in traffic accidents, diminished performance at work, and a risk of injury in using heavy equipment. A general lack of energy and fatigue can lead to constant naps throughout the day. As the compulsion to sleep intensifies, the ability to complete tasks diminishes sharply.
Continue reading to find out how sleep apnea can create memory problems for an individual.
Short-Term Memory Problems
If left untreated, sleep apnea can affect both mental and physical functioning. It is known to cause systemic hypertension and is linked to heart disease, diabetes, depression, osteoporosis and increased mortality. Research indicates that patients with sleep apnea can also have significant difficulties with converting short-term memories into long-term ones. Neuroimaging and neurochemistry studies suggest that a good night’s sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resilience, while chronic sleep disruptions, such as sleep apnea and other sleeping disorders, set the stage for negative thinking and emotional vulnerability.
Next, discover why it is important to not ignore sleeping problems.
Do Not Ignore The Snore
It is one thing to disrupt one's partner while they are sleeping due to loud snoring or gagging sounds an individual is making during their sleep cycle. However, these sounds and disruptions are a major indicator of one's health! For instance, it can be incredibly dangerous to treat snoring without being tested for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Snoring in itself is a red flag that an individual may be experiencing sleep apnea. If the individual in question or their partner frequently snore loudly, they may want to consult their doctor to see whether a sleep study is necessary. Essentially, do not ignore what the body is trying to communicate and do not ignore the snore!
Keep reading to learn how high blood pressure and sleep apnea are connected.
High Blood Pressure
In a few rare cases, sleep apnea can be fatal due to its connection to high blood pressure. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is extremely common amongst those experiencing sleep apnea. When sleep apnea occurs during the sleep cycle, the patient's breathing stops and their blood pressure rises. These sudden drops in blood oxygen levels increase the patient's blood pressure and put a significant strain on the body's cardiovascular system. This puts the patient at a greater risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack, which can lead to death. Research has also indicated severe sleep apnea may almost double the risk of sudden cardiac death, which proves the importance of diagnosing and effectively treating sleep apnea.
Next, find out how sleep apnea can affect a person's hormone levels.
Low Hormone Levels
Sleep apnea can also affect sexual intimacy by causing erectile dysfunction in men and loss of libido in women. As it causes intermittent waking and chronic sleep deprivation, sleep apnea may directly drive down levels of these hormones such as testosterone, resulting in sexual dysfunction. As obstructive sleep apnea continues and becomes worse over time, problems with sexual function, including sensation and desire may become more serious. Hence, why it is essential to be tested for sleep apnea and seek the proper treatment so that it may not interfere with other aspects of a patient's life.