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Sleep Apnea - Complications It Can Cause!

Dr. Mehmood Ahmed 91% (716 ratings)
Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (B.U.M.S)
General Physician, New Delhi  •  25 years experience
Sleep Apnea - Complications It Can Cause!

A good night’s sleep is essential for your mental and physical health. Proper sleep means your body is adequately rejuvenated and is ready to face yet another day with efficiency. When your sleep cycle is disrupted, the entire body mechanism is disturbed. Thus, sleep apnea can turn bothersome if not treated.

What is sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition wherein there can be paused or shallow breathing while the person is asleep. At the time of sleeping, the muscles of the throat and tongue are more relaxed, and the tissues block the passage of air. It is most common in adults, and the primary reason behind it is excess weight and obesity. In the case of children, most common cause of this disorder is enlarged tonsils. Childhood obesity is another cause of this disorder in children.

Complications that could arise if the obstructive sleep apnea is not taken care of

  • Sleep apnea or snoring can disturb your sleep as well people sleeping around you. This disorder raises the chances of health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure. If someone is already suffering from high blood pressure, then sleep apnea can even make it worse.
  • When a person suffering from sleep apnea wakes up at night, his/her body gets stressed which makes the hormone system to go into overdrive which in turn increases the blood pressure of that person. Even the level of oxygen in the blood decreases when one cannot breathe well due to sleep apnea.
  • People suffering from sleep apnea are more likely to have heart attacks.
  • The most common cause for this is the low level of oxygen or the stress of waking up suddenly. A person who is suffering from obesity is more prone to sleep apnea which also makes it harder to slim down. When someone suffers from sleep apnea, that person can have fatty deposits in their neck which block breathing during the night. Also, sleep apnea releases more the hormone named Ghrelin which makes a person suffering from obesity to crave for sweets.
  • Sleep apnea is also a concern with some general anesthesia and certain medications. People suffering from sleep apnea are more prone to face problems or complications at the time of major surgery as they suffer from breathing problems especially when anesthesia is performed and they are laid on their back. It is imperative to consult with the doctor before a major surgery if one is suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

Other health related problems

  • People suffering from sleep apnea are more likely to liver problems. This includes abnormal results on the liver function test, and their liver is most prone to show the signs of scarring. This disorder is also known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea also results to excessive daytime sleepiness which also increases the risk factor for automobile accidents and can also lead to depression.
  • Sleep apnea can also lead to stroke, heart failure, gastroesophageal reflux disease and abnormal rhythm of the heart.
  • Sleep apnea is a common condition with mild to severe levels and can be progressive with age. Because of the complications that can arise due to this condition, it is crucial to get the condition treated as soon as the symptoms are observed.

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