Posted on Thursday, June 15th, 2023 at 8:00 am
The Dangerous Side Effects of Leaving Sleep Apnea Untreated
Sleep impacts every aspect of your life, including your mental and physical health. Sleep apnea can disrupt your natural sleep cycle and cause numerous acute and chronic medical complications. You may not think that sleep apnea can dramatically shift the course of your life, but leaving the condition untreated can be detrimental to your overall health.
What is sleep apnea, and how can it impact your health? Medical studies continue to unravel the dangerous side effects of untreated sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a significant sleep disorder characterized by repeated starts and stops in breathing throughout the night. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when an individual’s airway becomes blocked, typically when the throat muscles relax, causing surrounding tissues to obstruct the windpipe.
Common signs of sleep apnea may include:
- Dry mouth
- Gasping for breath
- Excessive daytime drowsiness
- Problems concentrating
The abnormal breathing patterns caused by sleep apnea can disrupt a person’s normal sleep cycle, leaving them with little deep or REM sleep.
What Are the Dangers of Leaving Sleep Apnea Untreated?
Researchers continue to uncover links between untreated sleep apnea and significant acute and chronic health complications. Consider the profound impact of not getting enough sleep a few nights per week. You may wake up without feeling rested, drag through your day, and feel as if you’re in a constant fog. Fatigue and a lack of mental clarity can significantly impact your mood, leaving you irritable and unable to focus on work or daily tasks. Fatigue can also impact your ability to safely operate a vehicle, increasing your risk of car accidents.
Sleep apnea can leave you with a dry mouth and morning headaches. Over time, sleep apnea and the associated dry mouth can lead to oral health problems like tooth decay, teeth grinding, and jaw pain.
Beyond the acute mental and physical effects of leaving sleep apnea untreated, researchers have linked sleep apnea to other severe and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:
- Heart and cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Cardiac rhythm disorders like arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation
Combating sleep apnea can help reduce your risk of developing significant medical conditions down the road.
There Are Treatment Options Available
Coping with sleep apnea can be a frustrating experience. The first step to better sleep starts with an official diagnosis. Do you feel tired or sleepy after waking up in the morning? Does your partner complain about your snoring? Do you wake up with a dry mouth or a sore throat? It may be time to discuss your situation with a sleep professional. Once you’ve been diagnosed, your medical provider can outline the treatment options that best fit your unique needs.
Some of the most common treatment options for sleep apnea involve:
- Continuous positive airway pressure machine or CPAP
- Professionally fitted oral appliances
Contact a Sleep Professional Today for Help
Improve the quality of your sleep and your overall health and wellness. Discuss your situation with a sleep professional today. Silent Night Therapy offers a complimentary sleep consultation to help you understand your condition and treatment options. Call us today at 631-983-2463 to arrange your consultation and take the first step toward better sleep and health.