Health Risks of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is synonymous with CPAP machines and snoring but it can affect people’s lives in many other ways, far beyond the limits of sleep. Sleep breathing disorders such as sleep apnea can be harmful to countless other bodily processes as well as affect others. What is the extent in which sleep apnea can affect people?

Side Effects for the Patient

People that suffer from sleep apnea will be familiar with side effects such as fatigue and early morning headaches, but maybe less familiar with others. Sleep apnea can affect people’s lives in many forms including:

  • Heart attacks
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Impotence
  • High blood pressure
  • Heartburn
  • Stroke
  • Morning headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Depression
  • Impaired concentration
  • Decreased libido
  • Irritability

A person with sleep apnea routinely stops breathing while they’re sleeping. This regular absence of oxygen prevents the body from operating under optimal conditions. Not performing at optimal conditions means that sleep apnea diminishes a person’s feeling of restfulness when they wake up and keeps the body from efficiently performing its regular maintenance. If the body isn’t able to perform maintenance to the extent that it needs to it can create a recipe for serious issues like those outlined above.

Side Effects for People Other Than the Patient

Sleep apnea can have life-altering side effects for people who have it, but it can also interfere with other people’s lives as well even if they don’t suffer from the condition themselves. For example, sleep apnea can contribute to the following scenarios:

  • Partners snoring can keep the other person up at night. If both spouses don’t sleep well, they’re more likely to be irritable which may lead to more tension or arguments.
  • Tired, not well-rested drivers are more likely to contribute to car accidents.
  • Parents having heart attacks or living with serious depression can affect their children and families.

See a Specialist About Your Risk for Sleep Apnea Today

It’s estimated that roughly 90 percent of people living with sleep apnea are currently undiagnosed. This staggering statistic suggests that if you experience symptoms of sleep apnea, you may very well be undiagnosed. To learn more about sleep apnea and treatment options, call Dr. Wallace’s office at (843) 410-0345 or fill out a form on our contact page.

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