Sleep apnea is a widespread sleep disorder that can often go undiagnosed and untreated. Symptoms that may seem harmless, such as chronic snoring, could actually be a blaring alert that you have this condition. When your muscles relax as you sleep, your breathing passage could become blocked, leading to the cessation of breathing. Some could stop breathing hundreds of times a night, leading to changes in blood pressure and oxygen levels and fragmented sleep. Dr. Brady Camp treats sleep apnea patients at Magnolia Park Dental in Coppell, Texas.
As a trusted area dentist, Dr. Camp would like to share some of the health risks associated with undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea.
Hypertension is a medical term used to describe high blood pressure. Studies have shown a significant link between hypertension and chronic sleep apnea. How much one’s blood pressure is impacted by their sleep apnea depends on how bad their sleep apnea is. Patients with more extreme cases of sleep apnea will see a greater impact on their blood pressure than those with a more minor or moderate case of sleep apnea. This impact is not limited to adults. Children and teens could also see elevated blood pressure caused by untreated sleep apnea as well.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death for adults in the United States. Medical studies have found that those suffering from untreated sleep apnea are at a higher risk for heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. This risk includes coronary heart disease, irregular heartbeat, and congestive heart failure.
If you have sleep apnea that you are not receiving treatment for, you could be at an enhanced risk for stroke. Stroke has perennially been the third leading cause of death in the United States since 2005. Strokes that do not result in death can still lead to life-altering medical complications that could impact the remainder of the victim’s life.
Depression is common among individuals who have sleep apnea. Even if you have only a minor case of sleep apnea, you are still at a much greater risk for depression than somebody who does not. The risk for depression gets greater for those with more severe cases of sleep apnea. Undergoing a sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea is so important to not only your physical health but your mental health as well.
Not only does being obese put you at a greater risk for sleep apnea, but sleep apnea can also put you at a higher risk for weight gain and obesity. Sleep apnea fragments your sleep, leading to decreased daytime energy and the desire to undergo physical activity. Disrupted sleep can also disrupt your metabolism and alter hormone levels responsible for appetite regulation, leading to your desire to eat more at a time.
Finally, it has been found that people who suffer from untreated sleep apnea are at a significantly higher risk of death than those who do not. This risk is higher for those with more severe cases of sleep apnea and even higher for those not receiving treatment for their sleep apnea. Getting treatment for your sleep apnea is so important. There is an incredibly high rate of treatment success, and every risk we have discussed here can be drastically reduced or outright eliminated with treatment.