Effects of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea refers to a disorder in which an individual briefly stops breathing during their sleep. In the case of obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of this disorder, the soft tissue at the back of the throat will relax in sleep and collapse to block the airway.

While this phenomenon is not acutely life-threatening, if left untreated, sleep apnea will significantly elevate your risk for heart attacks and strokes. It can lead to detrimental consequences to your health without treatment.

Dr. Frank Henrich offers targeted solutions that address sleep apnea and prevent this occurrence from interrupting your sleep. He may recommend a nasal spray to reduce swelling within the nose that can exacerbate your condition.

Dr. Henrich can also provide you with a custom-made oral appliance that, when worn at night, can keep your jaw in a position that ensures your airway remains clear and open. The individualized approach to constructing these appliances allows for a secure and comfortable fit that will not disrupt your sleep schedule.

You can feel more encouraged to seek sleep apnea treatment from a sleep specialist when you understand the dangers this disorder can bring to your health. Read on to learn details about how untreated sleep apnea can influence your well-being.

Effects of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Difficulty Managing Chronic Conditions

Sleep apnea can affect the quality of your sleep. The acute cessation of breathing might make you gasp awake suddenly. This disruption will affect your ability to reach the deep, restorative sleep your body requires.

Deprivation of sleep will create strain on various organs, which can result in higher blood pressure, faster heart rate, and increased metabolism. You can also release stress hormones when you experience sleep apnea. This can weaken your immune system over time and lead to higher blood sugar.

As a result, you might face a greater chance of developing chronic medical conditions like heart disease or diabetes. If sleep apnea remains untreated, you could struggle to manage these conditions, which can lead to more severe health consequences.

Risk of Serious Cardiovascular Problems

As mentioned, untreated sleep apnea may lead to the development of certain chronic health issues. Conditions like diabetes and heart disease are risk factors for serious medical emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke.

You could experience an increased risk of these cardiovascular problems for other reasons linked to sleep apnea as well. Repeated drops in your oxygen levels can cause damage to your blood vessels over time. Also, a block in the airway can put pressure on your body that may disrupt circulation elsewhere in the body, which may put you in danger of a stroke.

Decline in Cognitive Abilities

Without enough good-quality sleep, you can find yourself feeling drowsy during the day. This can affect your concentration, memory, and other mental functions. Then you could be more likely to make mistakes in your regular routines, which can prove dangerous when behind the wheel of a car, for example.

Cognitive decline is not always very noticeable in a patient, but that does not mean it is not harmful. Do not ignore signs that you have sleep apnea. Contact a sleep disorder expert to find treatment to improve your sleep today.