Increased Heart Health Risks

Primary heart risks:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure or heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Irregular heart rhythm

The biggest danger of sleep apnea is related to your cardiovascular system (your heart). Leaving sleep apnea untreated can increase your risk of death from cardiac problems significantly. Your risk for a heart attack or stroke increases up to five times the normal amount.

If you’re wondering why sleep apnea affects your heart so much it’s because when your lungs struggle to get the right amount of oxygen while you sleep, your heart has to work overtime to pump faster and harder to get the oxygen throughout your body. Over time, this extra work can take its toll and cause your heart to beat irregularly and high blood pressure to occur.

The extra work your heart endures can also tire it to the point of heart failure. The high blood pressure can also dislodge the plaque in arteries which can cause a block of blood supply to the brain, resulting in a stroke. Snoring can also damage the arteries and increase plaque to form.

Metabolism Changes

Primary metabolism risks:

  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Sleep apnea doesn’t just affect your quality of sleep, it can have harmful consequences on your metabolism as well. When you sleep at night, it’s supposed to be the time where your body restores its energy and determines how and when it should store or use energy. Since sleep apnea constantly disrupts your sleep, your body doesn’t have the time to reproduce certain hormones that are important for your metabolic health. As a result, your metabolism may slow and make it difficult to lose weight even when following a strict diet and exercise. It can also cause you to gain weight easily too.

Since sleep apnea also interferes with how your body regulates energy, it can also cause your body to develop type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

There is also a common occurrence of those who have sleep apnea also have GERD. However, it’s unknown if GERD causes sleep apnea or if sleep apnea causes GERD or if they happen to have common risk factors.

Mood and Thought Changes

Primary mood and thought risks:

  • Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory issues

One of the most important tasks your body performs while you sleep is resting and recharging your brain. If you suffer from sleep apnea and experience interruptions all night long, your brain doesn’t get the rest it needs to recharge for the next day. The first difference you will notice is feeling fatigued during the day. The daytime fatigue will slowly turn into a low mood and potentially develop into severe depression. The lack of sleep can also contribute to irritability, anger disorders, or symptoms similar to bipolar disorder.

Not only will you notice changes in your mood and energy, but also your focus. It’s common for those who suffer from sleep apnea to get into car or work accidents more often because they’re feeling tired and unfocused. The lack of sleep can also affect your memory. If your body is unable to get through its REM cycle during sleep, your memory suffers. You might struggle to remember simple things throughout the day. Eventually, these memory problems can lead to early-onset dementia.

Improve Your Health

If you want to avoid the dangers of sleep apnea, you must seek treatment for your sleep apnea. Dr. Pribyl will help you find the right sleep apnea treatment in Lee's Summit, MO for you. With our wide range of treatment options available, you don’t have to worry about being married to wearing a CPAP mask every night for the rest of your life. Contact our sleep dentist today to schedule a consultation for sleep apnea treatment by calling (816) 795-1000.