Does sleep apnea get worse if left untreated?

If left untreated, the effects of sleep apnea may worsen. Sleep is an important part of the body's recovery process; frequent sleep interruptions can increase stress levels and cause high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease. Sleep apnea has also been linked to strokes and type 2 diabetes. In particular, undiagnosed sleep apnea is directly related to an increased risk to cardiovascular and metabolic health.

The scariest part? You may not even know that you have this very common problem. Leaving sleep apnea untreated can be incredibly dangerous because it can cause several serious health problems. Waking up frequently during the night stresses the body and creates an increase in hormone production, causing an increase in blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, untreated sleep apnea can make it much worse.

In addition, respiratory problems cause the oxygen level in the blood to drop, which can further aggravate problems and create a cycle. You may find it difficult to concentrate and fall asleep at work, while watching TV, or even while driving. People with sleep apnea have a higher risk of motor vehicle and work accidents. If you think you have sleep apnea, you should schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist or ask a primary care provider to refer you to a sleep specialist.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when air can't get in or out through your nose or mouth, even if you're trying to breathe. People with sleep apnea can also suffer from unexplained fatigue and mood changes, as breathing interruptions continuously wake them up and prevent them from enjoying deep, nutritious sleep. On the other hand, if you have a severe case of sleep apnea, your doctor may insist on treatment even if you're not sleepy. Other patients may wake up with a dry mouth, as sleep apnea tends to cause you to breathe with your mouth open and dry your saliva.

If you suspect that you or a loved one has sleep apnea, you may be able to help a healthcare provider diagnose it. This weight reduces the diameter of the throat and puts pressure on the lungs, contributing to the collapse of the respiratory tract during sleep. Even if it doesn't cause these dangerous complications, people with sleep apnea can't sleep well, making them constantly feel tired. This occurs because of airway obstruction (obstructive apnea) or because the brain doesn't control breathing properly (central apnea).

Under normal circumstances, your brain manages your breathing all the time, even while you sleep. In addition to positive airway pressure, adaptive ventilation, and phrenic nerve stimulators, there are some medications that can help with central sleep apnea. Ultimately, that can reduce or even eliminate the effects of sleep apnea in your life while using these treatments. Many people see immediate improvements when they sleep through the night using a positive airway pressure device.

Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn't send the right signals to your muscles to get you to start breathing. Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increase blood pressure and overload the cardiovascular system.

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