Top 5 Hidden Dangers of Living with Sleep Apnea

Sleep loss is a growing pandemic, across America. Humans need sleep. It is a critical component of your health and well-being. Sleep is restorative for the body and brain.  Being all tucked into bed, totally relaxed, and achieving a dream state, is the ultimate goal for feeling restored, and invigorated, in the morning. 

For over 30 million people, diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, waking up, does not offer physical and mental restoration. Exhaustion, and feelings of extreme fatigue, remain. The energy, crucially needed to manage the increasing stressors of daily life, is absent. When the quality of sleep is poor, it generates, or triggers a range of serious, often silent, health problems, and challenges, which could be fatal.

Factors You Need to Know

Undiagnosed, and untreated, a sleep disorder has dire consequences. It can initiate the onset of hypertension, diabetes, brain fog, strokes, and a fatal heart attack.  Often, the chronic sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea, is creating chaos within your body, without your knowledge.  This is very scary.  It negatively affects the respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, and other systems, vital to sustaining good health.

The brain, too, is affected.  Sleep apnea affects your ability to focus, concentrate, complete complicated tasks, and stay awake, and alert at work, and when driving. Getting diagnosed, to identify the underlying cause of sleep loss, is imperative to achieving longevity.

Sleep Apnea – Chronic Sleep Disorder, Defined

Sleep Apnea is a serious chronic, (recurring), condition. There are two types: obstructive, and central sleep apnea.  Obstructive, the most common form, occurs when the muscle tone, which supports all soft tissue in the tongue, palate, and throat, relaxes during the sleep state. The airway narrows, or becomes blocked, almost entirely.  Breathing stops, for 30 seconds or more, repeatedly, during the night.  

When diagnosed, a CPAP machine is prescribed to provide continuous positive airway pressure, for restorative, sleep. A portable CPAP allows the patient to resume an active lifestyle, travel, and still benefit from the technology due to its portability. 

Central sleep apnea is experienced during the resting state, when the brain cannot signal the muscles, to stimulate the functions which control breathing.  Supplemental oxygen is frequently prescribed, to assist in sustaining breath, or surgery may be required.

Dangers Revealed –  Hidden Sleep Apnea Threats

Due to the exponential rise in incidences of sleep apnea, numerous research projects have been conducted. Scientists are striving to determine the exact extent of dangerous side effects, propagated by the rise and fall of oxygen levels, to vital bodily functions. The findings have concluded that obstructive sleep apnea does cause medical morbidity, and a significantly higher risk for death.  

Jonathan Jun, M.D., a pulmonary/sleep specialist at the John Hopkins Sleep Disorder Center, and others, have conducted studies which reveal ongoing, hidden, damage and dangers and to your health from sleep apnea.   They include:

1. Brain Damage – to the fiber pathways, and white matter structure, which reduce the brain’s ability to:  regulate blood pressure, causing hypertension, heart disease, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, strokes, and memory loss.

2. Diabetes – Intermittent hypoxia, (low oxygen levels in the blood), facilitates insulin resistance, through adipose tissue inflammation, and glucose intolerance, a precursor for both diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, other blood sugar ailments, and glaucoma. It is an eye disease which begins with a damaged optic nerve, from elevated blood pressure, and leads to loss of vision.

3. Cardiovascular Disease – Obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of stroke by 60%, heart failure 140%, and a thick buildup of fatty plaque to the wall of the arteries, known as Atherosclerosis.

4. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease – Is a term used to describe a myriad of liver diseases, in which too much fatty material, triglycerides, is stored in the liver of patients who do not drink alcohol. The liver becomes inflamed, leading to liver scarring (cirrhosis), and eventual liver failure. This disease is exceeding painful, and leads to the need for a liver transplant, or death. Apnea also worsens gastroesophageal reflux disease, which scars the esophagus.

5 Gastrointestinal Tract Disorder – This involves serious infections, and disfunctions of the stomach, large and small intestine,  gall bladder, pancreas, and opening of the esophagus into the stomach, where erosive gastritis, and duodenal ulcers can develop. These ulcers can perforate, bleed, and hemorrhage.

Patients who are diagnosed, and receive treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, or a combination of both, have great risk for sudden death from cardiac arrest.  Sufferers who choose to remain untreated, and either deny the problems, or try a self-care methodology for constant fatigue, are at the greatest risk for suffering and death.

Positive Alternatives for Reducing Risk Factors and Restoring Health

The breathing interruptions experienced with obstructive sleep apnea, are difficult to cope with, and endure.  The constant battle to stay awake, and fully function, in the daylight hours, is unending. 

The dangers associated with the interruption of oxygen to your body, and brain, are daunting for your mortality. Research has recently made great strides in offering alternative therapies, to improve your quality of life, and alleviate many of the symptoms you struggle with, daily.  Get diagnosed and receive the tools you need to identify the risks, and gain the recovery, that medical treatment, and modern science offer, now.

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