Sleep apnea is more than just snoring. When you have sleep apnea, you actually experience pauses in your breathing while you are asleep; in short, you’re having short bouts of suffocation. Left untreated, this can lead to a wide range of serious health problems.
Sleep apnea can contribute to a wide range of physical health problems. These can include an increased risk for things like high blood pressure, heart disease, irregular heartbeat, stroke, heart attack, and type 2 diabetes.
The pauses in breathing caused by sleep apnea can make the sufferer wake up frequently in the night. This means that they don’t get the amount or quality of sleep they really need. Insufficient sleep is linked to a higher risk of depression and anxiety, and indeed, studies show that those who have sleep apnea are more likely to experience these mental health issues than the general population.
Quality of Life
The lack of sleep caused by sleep apnea can have significant negative impacts on your daily life. Sleep apnea patients often feel exhausted, short tempered and listless, and have trouble concentrating on tasks.
In addition, sleep apnea can affect patients’ relationships as well. Not only, as mentioned, are their personalities affected, but their sleep partners will also likely be getting less sleep because of the snoring, resulting in greater stress and tension on the relationship.
Both the lack of sleep and lack of oxygen to the brain that sleep apnea entails can mean serious problems for your memory.
Sleep apnea has been linked to a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. In addition, studies show that people with sleep disordered breathing (like sleep apnea) experience earlier onset of mild cognitive impairment compared to other people. That is to say, the forgetfulness we associate with old age starts sooner in life for these individuals.
The inconvenience of sleep apnea testing and treatment is worth it for all the health issues you may be able to avoid as a result. If you think you are suffering from sleep apnea, do yourself and your family a favour, and get yourself assessed.