Sleep apnea is much more serious than just snoring! Those who suffer from sleep apnea actually experience pauses in their breathing while they are asleep; in short, they're having brief bouts of suffocation. If sleep apnea is left untreated it could lead to a wide range of serious health issues.
Sleep Apnea & Your Physical Health
Sleep apnea can contribute to a variety of physical health problems including an increased risk for: type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, irregular heartbeat, stroke, and heart attack.
Sleep Apnea & Your Mental Health
Those suffering from sleep apnea wake up frequently in the night due to the pauses in their breathing. This means that sufferers don’t get the amount or quality of sleep they require.
Poor quality sleep and insufficient sleep have been linked to a higher risk of depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that those who have sleep apnea are more likely to experience these mental health issues than the general population.
Sleep Apnea & Your Quality of Life
Lack of sleep can also have significant negative impacts on daily life. Sleep apnea patients often feel exhausted, short tempered and listless, and frequently have difficulties concentrating on tasks.
Sleep apnea can affect patients' relationships as well. Not only are patients' personalities affected by lack of sleep, but their sleep partners will also be getting less sleep due to the snoring. When both partners are dealing with insufficient sleep the result is often greater stress and tension on the relationship.
Sleep Apnea & Your Memory
Lack of oxygen to the brain combined with lack of sleep can mean serious memory problems for sleep apnea sufferers.
Sleep apnea has even been linked to a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Studies have shown that people with sleep disordered breathing (such as sleep apnea) experience earlier onset of mild cognitive impairment compared to the general population. That means that the forgetfulness we associate with old age begins to appear earlier in life for these individuals.
The inconvenience of sleep apnea testing and treatment is worth it for all the health issues you may be able to avoid as a result. If you think you are suffering from sleep apnea, do yourself and your family a favour, and get yourself tested!