Most people have heard by now that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is bad for your health. Being sleepy throughout the day is no longer considered a “normal side effect of aging”. Research is linking OSA and other sleep disorders to many medical conditions. So, how exactly can untreated sleep apnea affect your body? According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, at least 25 million Americans have sleep apnea. If left untreated, you are at a much higher risk of developing the following:
High blood pressure - Waking up from pauses in your breathing during the night causes hormones to be released which increases blood pressure. Dips in your oxygen levels during these pauses may add to the problem.
Heart Disease - it is the leading cause of death in the United States. High blood pressure is a major risk factor and studies show sleep apnea may boost your risk of sudden cardiac death.
Type 2 Diabetes - studies show that up to 80% of people with Type 2 diabetes have sleep apnea. Not getting enough sleep can keep your body from using insulin properly, thus leading to diabetes.
Weight gain - Sleep apnea can cause your body to release the hormone ghrelin. This hormone causes you to crave carbohydrates and sugar. Being tired all of the time makes your body less efficient at turning the food you eat into energy, which in turn can cause an increase in weight.
Depression - People with sleep apnea are at an increased risk for developing depression. A study in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine states “Effective treatment of obstructive sleep apnea resulted in substantial improvement in depressive symptoms”. People with symptoms of depression should be screened for sleep apnea by their physicians.
Headaches - especially morning headaches can also be a symptom of OSA.
How do you know if you have sleep apnea?
A visit to your doctor and an overnight sleep study either in a sleep lab or at home will give you a definitive diagnosis. You may want to begin by completing a sleep apnea questionnaire which will aid you in determining the need to seek professional medical attention. It is also a good idea to take the results of this questionnaire to your doctor’s appointment for his/her review.
THERE IS GOOD NEWS!
If your doctor does determine you are suffering from sleep apnea, many treatment options are available. One of the most widely accepted and non-invasive treatment options is PAP therapy. (Positive Airway Pressure). By using a CPAP or BiPAP machine at night, you can not only treat the snoring and sleep apnea, you will reduce your risk of developing the more serious conditions associated with untreated sleep apnea.
Nationwide Medical Inc. is a leader in sleep apnea therapy and CPAP/BiLevel machines and supplies. We have more than a decade of experience serving 100,000 patients with 24/7 clinical support and are contracted with Medicare and most commercial insurance companies. You can reach us at www.nationwidemedical.com or call 1-877-307-2727 (CPAP). Please also visit our cash pay site at www.nationwidemedicaldirect.com.