Roughly 80 percent of people living with sleep apnea are undiagnosed. That means that a large majority of people who routinely stop breathing at night aren’t aware of the danger they sleep through. Untreated sleep apnea poses health risks beyond regular breathing interruptions. Sleep apnea can affect several body systems from the cardiovascular system to mental health.
While potentially life-threatening even with treatment, untreated sleep apnea puts people at risk for several additional health risks. Some of the most common side effects of sleep apnea include:
Repeated awakening at night is a major disruptor to a natural sleep cycle. Without access to restorative deep sleep, sleep apnea sufferers can have difficulty concentrating and even doze off while working or driving.
Breathing interruptions while a person is sleeping depletes their blood oxygen levels. These sudden drops in blood oxygen levels translate into increases in blood pressure. This trade-off occurs so that the same amount of oxygen is delivered around the body despite the lessened concentration in the blood.
Inconsistent sleep patterns can diminish the body’s ability to process insulin and eventually lead to insulin resistance.
As a consequence of heart disease caused by sleep apnea, sufferers can experience symptoms such as abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood sugar, and increased waist circumference.
The biggest danger to people suffering from sleep apnea is not being diagnosed early. Early diagnosis provides doctors with enough time to begin adequately treating patients before their sleep apnea can advance to damaging multiple other systems. Getting the necessary amount of oxygen throughout the night is not only beneficial to a person’s pulmonary health but also to their metabolic and mental health. To learn whether you suffer from sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with Dr. Wallace by calling our office at (843) 410-0345.