April 22, 2021
You wake up to find that you still feel tired despite getting over 7 hours of sleep. Your bedmate is in a bad mood, having been kept up all night by your loud snoring. As unpleasant as these things may be, they may not even be the worst of your problems if you have sleep apnea in Rocky Mount. The disorder is highly dangerous and raises your risk for a variety of health issues – some of which can even be life-threatening if left alone. Here are 4 health issues that you might have to deal with if you leave sleep apnea unaddressed.
1. High Blood Pressure
If you have sleep apnea, your body will stop breathing multiple times during the night. The lack of oxygen will trigger your body’s stress response, causing your blood pressure to rise. Also, your cardiovascular system will have to work harder to push limited amounts of oxygen throughout your body, and that can contribute to higher blood pressure as well. If you already had problems with high blood pressure, then sleep apnea makes your symptoms much worse.
2. Heart Disease
Sleep apnea has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases. The cause is likely the reduced oxygen levels that you suffer due to interrupted breathing, affecting your brain’s ability to control the flow of blood. The longer sleep apnea goes untreated, the higher your risk of suffering from a fatal heart problem.
3. Type 2 Diabetes
Did you know that over 80% of people with type 2 diabetes might also have sleep apnea? A direct causal link hasn’t been established, but there is evidence to suggest that a lack of sleep (which is a natural consequence of having your breathing constantly interrupted) can affect your body’s ability to use insulin properly, making the symptoms of diabetes even more severe.
4. Gaining Weight
You’ve probably already heard that obesity is a significant risk factor for sleep apnea, but what you may not have heard is that sleep-disordered breathing can cause you to gain even more weight. When you’re constantly exhausted, you probably won’t be getting very much exercise; furthermore, the hormones that normally regulate hunger might be disrupted and cause you to overeat. Needless to say, further weight gain will only make sleep apnea more severe, so it’s important to be aware of how the quality of your sleep and your overall weight are affecting each other.
These are not the only ways that sleep apnea can impact your wellbeing. If you have any doubts on whether you’re suffering from a sleep disorder, set up an appointment with a sleep expert right away. It never pays to take chances with your health or the quality of your sleep!
About the Author
Dr. Berry Belton graduated from the University of North Carolina Dental School in 1985, and in 1988 he began providing caring, comprehensive dental care to Rocky Mount Residents. He is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and has undergone training with Dr. Ken Berley, a recognized leader in dental sleep medicine. If you have sleep apnea and are considering an oral appliance treatment, schedule a consultation with Dr. Belton by visiting his website or calling (252) 937-7878.
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