If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can have serious consequences on your health and shorten your life by up to 15 years. While there is no permanent cure for this condition, diagnosis and treatment can help ease its effects. Waking up frequently during the night due to obstructive sleep apnea causes an increase in hormone production and blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, it can be made much worse by leaving sleep apnea untreated.
In addition, the oxygen level in the blood drops due to respiratory problems, creating a vicious cycle. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when soft tissues in the head or neck, such as around the mouth and jaw, press down on the trachea. The brain reacts to drops of oxygen in the blood caused by apnea or hypopnea, resulting in a fault-like reflex that wakes you up enough to be able to breathe again. Weight loss, lifestyle changes and sleeping positions can help reduce snoring and sleep apnea episodes.
People with sleep apnea are five times more likely to have a car accident than those who sleep normally. The time needed to recover or feel better after treatment for sleep apnea depends on the treatments themselves. Medications can help prevent apnea episodes or reduce their frequency or severity. There are many approaches to treating sleep apnea, depending on the type and severity of the condition.
Older devices may require some adjustments and settings, while newer devices usually adjust automatically if your sleep apnea is mild or moderate. It is not yet clear whether having sleep apnea increases the risk of suffering from other conditions or if it is due to an underlying condition. This causes a person to wake up enough to breathe, interrupting their sleep and preventing them from feeling rested. Undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea can also increase the risk of neurocognitive problems and have detrimental effects on mood.
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 one.In addition, the lack of enough oxygen for the heart and the added stress of losing sleep can lead to strokes, palpitations, and heart attacks.