How Sleep Apnea Could Be Making You Sick
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects almost 1 billion people worldwide each year and it is a very common condition that a lot of people don’t know that they have. And although having a diagnosis can help you to manage the condition, your sleep apnea may be the cause of many other illnesses that may be affecting you each day. So if you have sleep apnea, you could have other conditions that are affecting your overall health.
It affects your blood pressure
It has been proven that up to 50% of those diagnosed with sleep apnea suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure. People with sleep apnea often wake up in the middle of the night, which can raise hormone and blood pressure levels as a result. Some studies have proved that there is a relationship between hypertension and sleep apnea, and people with a history of blood pressure problems can experience worse symptoms if they are diagnosed with sleep apnea as well. Hypertension can be a significant contributor to the development of many health problems, such as stroke and heart attack, and like sleep apnea, is more common in men of a certain age, so it is important to ask your doctor about sleep apnea or hypertension if you already have one of these conditions.
You could have a stroke
Research into sleep apnea has shown that there is a strong connection between this condition and your chance of having a stroke, which is a scary prospect for most people. There have also been links made between those who have had a stroke and sleep apnea, so it is not uncommon for someone to be affected by these two conditions at some stage in their lives. One of the reasons why it is common for a person to be affected by sleep apnea and stroke together is that your blood vessels in your brain dilate during your sleep, and if you have sleep apnea, the amount of oxygen that gets to your brain decreases because of this condition. Another thing that both of these conditions have in common is that people who face either of these health issues are more prone to blood clots. Blood clots are one of the leading causes of strokes, so you will need to be monitored for blood clots and changes in blood pressure if you are stroke risk and have sleep apnea.
It affects your breathing
If you know anything about sleep apnea, you will know that it causes people to have difficulty breathing while they are asleep. However, you probably didn’t know that these breathing problems can carry on to the day time as well. Patients who suffer from sleep apnea have more carbon dioxide in their blood than needed, and this can cause breathing problems during the day. Difficulties in breathing brought on by sleep apnea can cause a decrease in oxygen levels and the rise of carbon dioxide in the blood. The airway then becomes blocked which makes you breathe harder and faster to try and unblock it, which is what causes you to wake up in the night. People with sleep apnea are advised not to sleep on their backs, reduce their alcohol intake, and control their weight to decrease the effects of the condition. You should also consider buying a CPAP machine like the models available at CPAP Direct to assist you with your breathing while you sleep.
You may experience weight gain
The relation between sleep apnea and weight gain is a complex one. There is a link between people who are overweight and people who have sleep apnea, with almost 50% of people who have the condition being overweight. This is because your breathing can be obstructed because of the accumulation of fat around the neck and face that is more common in overweight people. However, people who have sleep apnea are more likely to gain weight than those who don’t so it can be difficult to keep the weight off if you have this condition. If you have sleep apnea you may not be able to sleep through the night, which means that you will feel tired during the day, making it hard to get exercise and stay fit. Also, because the quality of your sleep is not as good when you have sleep apnea, your hormones may go into overdrive and cause you to overeat. Most doctors recommend that you lose weight as soon as you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, so if you are struggling with the condition, you may need to lose a bit of weight.
It can cause acid reflux
Research shows that acid reflux, commonly known as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is linked to sleep apnea. This is because people who have sleep apnea may experience changes in pressures within the diaphragm or chest cavity while they sleep, causing the acid to rise. Also, because many people with sleep apnea have respiratory problems, the changes in breathing and the pressure on your esophagus may cause acid reflux as well. So if you have either of these conditions, there is a high chance that you may develop the other over time if you do not consult your doctor regularly.
You may feel fatigued
When you suffer from sleep apnea, getting a good night’s sleep can be a real challenge. Because these people will often wake up during the night, it is not unusual for them to feel tired during the day. People with sleep apnea may not have the stamina to keep going throughout the day because their energy levels will be lower than those who get enough sleep each night. In turn, this condition can make people feel tired, unfocused and sleepy during the day which people with sleep apnea may seem fatigued more often than not. In the short term, having a few restless nights is not a big deal, but because sleep apnea is a problem that does not go away overnight, you can develop other issues out of being fatigued every day.
There are many conditions related to sleep apnea that the average person could develop over time. But the key is to figure out that you have a serious condition before it does irreversible damage to your health. Sometimes it can be hard to diagnose yourself when you feel sick, so it is important to talk to your doctor regularly, and develop a plan together when you think you have developed a problem over time.