When many people think about obstructive sleep apnea, they imagine snoring, fatigue and daytime drowsiness. Unfortunately, OSA causes other serious problems that can shorten lives.
Studies Leave No Doubt
A mountain of research has linked sleep apnea to a myriad of scary health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia and even certain forms of cancer. Other studies have also shown that OSA may indirectly cause or contribute to sexual difficulties and fertility problems. Make no mistake; sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder that comes with serious short- and long-term consequences. If you’re living with OSA, your health is in jeopardy.
Understanding the Risk
Researchers aren’t sure why sleep apnea causes so many medical problems; however, they have definitively shown that it does. As soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses to prevent airflow, sleep apneics experience oxygen deprivation during sleep. Many researchers believe this puts the body in a constant state of stress, resulting in increased inflammation and other issues that promote poor health. Whatever the case, it’s clear that OSA has the power to cause or contribute to deadly health problems.
Interestingly, sleep apnea may also indirectly contribute to obesity. Studies have shown that insufficient sleep enhances food cravings. Since sleep apnea results in frequent waking and maintenance insomnia, sufferers tend to have great difficulty attaining the recommended seven to eight hours of nightly sleep. Sadly, even when they do fall asleep, their slumber tends to be shallow and unrestorative, resulting in daytime drowsiness and fatigue.
Sleep apnea can also negatively impact our mental health. Research has shown that insufficient sleep promotes depression and low mood. Other studies have demonstrated that sleep deprivation can negatively impact relationships, resulting in marital strife and low sexual desire.
Reach Out for Help
With treatment, sleep apneics can drastically lower their risk for future health problems. They can also attain a higher quality of life, free from daily fatigue and sleepless nights.