Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. Most people think of sleep apnea as merely a nuisance that causes snoring and daytime fatigue, but the truth is it can be deadly if left untreated.
Unfortunately, many people with sleep apnea go undiagnosed or untreated, which can result in serious health problems. This article will explore the dangers of untreated sleep apnea and why seeking treatment is essential.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition where a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. This may happen hundreds of times through the night, leading to poor-quality sleep. There are two types of sleep apnea.
The most common type of sleep apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA happens when the airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep. Factors like obesity, a narrow airway, or enlarged tonsils can cause OSA.
In instances of Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe properly. This type of sleep apnea is less common but can be much more severe.
Can Sleep Apnea Cause Death?
While it is uncommon, it is possible to die during sleep from untreated obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea itself is not always fatal but can lead to several health complications that can be life-threatening when untreated.
Here are a few ways that untreated sleep apnea can put your health at risk:
- Cardiovascular Disease: People with sleep apnea are at a higher risk of developing heart problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. With the pauses in breathing that happen repeatedly throughout the night, blood oxygen levels drop and strain the heart and blood vessels.
- Type 2 Diabetes: Sleep apnea has been linked to insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes due to the disruption of the body’s hormonal balance that occurs with sleep apnea.
- Abnormal Heart Rhythms: Low oxygen levels that happen with sleep apnea can cause abnormal heart rhythms, also known as heart arrhythmias.
- Mood Disorders: Sleep apnea can affect your mental health. It has been shown to increase a person’s risk of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. This is because the body’s natural sleep cycle is disrupted, affecting mood and cognitive function.
- Accidents: Daytime drowsiness and fatigue are common symptoms of sleep apnea, increasing the risk of accidents when driving or operating heavy machinery.
- Sudden Cardiac Arrest: In severe cases, untreated sleep apnea can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. This occurs when the heart stops beating unexpectedly and can be fatal if not treated immediately.
Reasons to Seek Treatment for Sleep Apnea
If you or a loved one think you may have sleep apnea, it’s essential to seek treatment immediately. Here are some reasons why.
- Improved Quality of Life: Treatment for your sleep apnea can significantly improve your sleep quality, which can positively impact your overall well-being and health.
- Reduced Risk of Health Complications: When you treat your sleep apnea, you reduce the risk of developing any serious health complications mentioned above.
- Improved Cognitive Function: Sleep is necessary for cognitive function, memory, and learning. When you treat your sleep apnea, you can improve your overall cognitive function and ability to concentrate.
- Increased Energy: One of the most common sleep apnea symptoms is fatigue during the day. With treatment, you’ll see an increase in your energy levels and the ability to perform your daily activities.
Treatment Options With DreamZz Sleep Center
Treatment options for sleep apnea will depend on the severity of your condition, but there are a few options available that can be effective in treating the disorder.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is the first-line treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP therapy requires using a CPAP machine that delivers a steady stream of air through a mask that covers your nose or mouth. The air pressure helps keep your airway open during sleep to prevent pauses in breathing.
- Oral appliance therapy involves wearing a dental appliance while you sleep that will help keep your airway open. These are made custom by a dentist and designed to fit comfortably in your mouth.
- Surgery might be necessary in more severe cases to treat sleep apnea. This will remove any excess tissue from the throat or correct abnormalities in the jaw.
- Lifestyle changes like losing weight, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol before bed can be effective treatments in reducing the severity of sleep apnea.
Expert Sleep Apnea Treatment With DreamZz Sleep Center
How we sleep and how much we sleep directly impacts our health and the quality of our everyday life. Treatments for sleep apnea are not a one-size-fits-all ordeal, and the best treatment will depend on the severity of your condition and your individual needs and preferences. You’ll want to work closely with a healthcare professional to find the best treatment for you.
At DreamZz Sleep Center, we strive to get you back to a healthy, good night of sleep. We start treatment as soon as possible, giving a consultation and sleep study within one or two weeks of your initial inquiry.
Don’t let your sleep apnea go untreated. Instead, take control of your health and seek treatment today! Contact us today to book an appointment.