Sleep apnea is an insidious health condition that can be difficult to detect because it occurs when a person is resting. An abundance of research has been devoted to the health effects of sleep apnea in recent years. Some of this research has shown that sleep apnea can weaken the cardiovascular system, affect pulmonary function, and contribute to issues with mood.
Health Effects of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea prevents a person from achieving a consistent, low heart rate throughout sleep. Instead, the cycle of breathing cessation and wakefulness associated with sleep apnea causes a person to breathe very erratically and at times, heavily. Since one cannot achieve a low and constant heart rate, the cardiovascular system might weaken. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Since research shows that sleep apnea can negatively affect the heart, it is important to seek treatment to safeguard one’s health.
The pulmonary system is also affected by untreated sleep apnea. Since this condition prevents a person from breathing properly, oxygen levels in the blood can be affected. Inadequate intake of oxygen impedes the lungs from delivering oxygen to vital organs, which has numerous effects on one’s well-being.
Lastly, sleep deprivation associated with this disorder can have long-lasting effects on one’s mood and cognitive function. Sleep deprivation contributes to irritability, memory loss, and depression. There are numerous physical effects related to sleep deprivation as well, including a weakened immune system.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or suspect you have this condition, you have easily accessible treatment options. Sometimes, patients find relief with oral appliance and/or CPAP therapy. Others might need oral surgery to correct abnormalities in the oral cavity or nose that disrupt breathing. Abstaining from sedatives and alcohol before bed along with managing one’s weight can help mitigate symptoms as well.