When you have sleep apnea, you experience pauses in your breathing while you sleep; in short, you’re having short bouts of suffocation. Left untreated, this can lead to a variety of serious health problems.
Sleep apnea can cause or exacerbate a wide range of physical health problems, including an increased risk for things like heart disease, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, stroke, heart attack, and type 2 diabetes.
The pauses in breathing caused by sleep apnea can make the sufferer wake up frequently throughout the night. As a result, they don’t get the amount or quality of sleep they really need, and insufficient sleep is linked to a higher risk of anxiety and depression. Indeed, studies show that those who have sleep apnea are more likely to experience these mental health issues than the general population.
Quality of Life
Lack of sleep can have significant negative impacts on your daily life. Sleep apnea patients often feel short-tempered, exhausted, and listless, and have trouble concentrating on tasks.
Additionally, sleep apnea can affect patients’ interpersonal relationships as well. Not only are their personalities affected, but their sleep partners will also likely be getting less sleep because of the snoring, resulting in greater stress and tension on the relationship.
Both the lack of sleep and lack of oxygen to the brain that sleep apnea causes can mean serious problems for your memory.
Sleep apnea has been linked to a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Studies also show that people with sleep disordered breathing (like sleep apnea) experience earlier onset of mild cognitive impairment than people. In other words, the forgetfulness we associate with old age starts sooner in life for these individuals.
The inconvenience of sleep apnea testing and treatment is definitely worth it for all the health problems 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 assessed.