When you were younger, you may have giggled at the sound of a relative snoring loudly in their sleep. Unfortunately, many adults do the same without realizing the hidden danger behind the loud rumbling at night. Contrary to popular belief, snoring does not signify a quality sleep. Supported by specialists and sleep research, here are the hidden dangers to an untreated sleeping condition.
To fully understand the danger of snoring, it’s important to know the definition of sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is “a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.” If you or your loved one snores, they may have OSA and should make an appointment with their doctor.
According to a recent interview with Dr. Said Mostafavi, a leader in sleep medicine, “Patients with OSA, particularly when it is moderate or severe and untreated, are at increased risk for a broad range of cardiovascular morbidities, including systemic hypertension, pulmonary arterial hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure, and stroke.”
If you are continually getting poor sleep every night, it is putting great strain on your heart. It has the potential to distort its function to the point of causing the heart to flutter, leading to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and the hardening of the arteries.
When you have OSA, your breathing is repeatedly interrupted. This causes a decrease of blood flow in the body. When your oxygen levels drop, brain cells can be damaged. This not only increases your risk of stroke, but basic memory and your ability to concentrate. According to a 2015 Neurology study, you are likely to have dementia ten years earlier if left untreated.
You’ve likely heard someone tell a grumpy person that they need to go back to bed. This is partially true if they are not getting at least six hours of sleep each night. OSA can alter the chemicals in your brain (glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid) that impact your stress and depression levels.
OSA is most likely to occur in individuals who are obese. Likewise, if left untreated it can cause weight gain which only worses other health issues. While there isn’t an extensive amount of research as to why that is, a recent study shows a decrease in OSA symptoms for sufferers that lose weight.
Did you know that if you are not getting quality sleep, you may be more likely to encounter diabetes in your lifetime? In fact, 71% of patients with OSA have type 2 diabetes.
The quality, or deprivation of sleep can significantly impact glucose levels.
The best thing those suffering from OSA can do, is to seek help and treatment. “OSA is a chronic disease that requires long-term, multidisciplinary management. The goals of therapy are to reduce or eliminate apneas, hypopneas, and oxyhemoglobin desaturation during sleep and thereby improve sleep quality and daytime function,” says Dr. Mostafavi.
If you’re interested in learning more about OSA and CPAP therapy, contact us today.