Sleep apnea isn't just snoring. When you suffer from sleep apnea you experience pauses in your breathing while you're asleep. That means you’re actually having short bouts of suffocation. If left untreated, it can lead to a range of serious health problems.
Sleep apnea can contribute to a range of physical health problems such as an increased risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, irregular heartbeat, stroke, and heart attack.
Sufferers wake up frequently through the night due to the pauses in breathing caused by sleep apnea. This means that they don’t get the amount, or quality, of sleep they need. Insufficient sleep is linked to a higher risk of depression and anxiety. Some studies have shown that people with sleep apnea are more likely to experience these mental health issues than the general population.
Quality of Life
The lack of sleep caused by sleep apnea can have significant negative impacts on daily life. Sufferers often feel exhausted, have difficulties concentrating, and can be short tempered and listless.
Sleep apnea can also negatively affect patients’ relationships. Not only are their personalities affected, but their sleep partners are likely to also be losing sleep because of the snoring, this can result in greater stress and tension on the relationship.
Lack of sleep and lack of oxygen to the brain caused by sleep apnea can mean serious problems for your memory.
Some studies have linked sleep apnea to a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and shown that people with sleep disordered breathing (like sleep apnea) experience earlier onset of mild cognitive impairment compared to the general population. That means that the forgetfulness we associate with old age starts sooner in life for those individuals.
Rest assured that the inconvenience of testing for sleep apnea and its treatment is worth it for all the health issues you might be able to avoid. If you think you're suffering from sleep apnea, do yourself and your family a favour, and get assessed!