Can sleep apnea be life threatening?

Yes, sleep apnea can be life threating if not treated timely. It’s a serious disorder characterized by pauses in breathing when one is sleeping. With apnea, your sleep is always broken, and your brain is not able to decide whether to sleep or breath. Worse still, apnea can make your breath stop for hundreds of time a night, or every night. As a result, the patient will find it extremely tough to realize a state of deep sleep. You will thus always feel like lacking in sleep or exhausted, not being to your best.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, then –

  • You may wake up frequently at nights, many times over due to lack of proper or enough sleep.
  • You may not be getting enough good sleep, which can hamper your overall productivity level through the day.
  • Your quality of sleep is disturbed by feelings of choking, smothering or gasping.
  • You may have frequent urge to urinate through the night.
  • You may have dry mouth, headache, sore throat, and you may find it hard to concentrate.

When sleep apnea becomes life-threatening

You should not ignore snoring as it could be an indication of something wrong with your body. It could be a symptom of sleep apnea where oxygen supply to the brain is choked temporarily. This sleep disorder should not be taken lightly as its treatment is necessary. It can lead to complications to the like of heart failure, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, irregular heartbeat etc.

With sleep apnea –

  • You can gain weight due to bad sleep quality keeping you wake at night resulting in excessive snacking.
  • Weight then becomes a major risk factor for apnea, as overweight people are more like to suffer from this problem.
  • Apnea can cause diabetes by disturbing the blood sugar levels in the body.
  • People with sleep apnea are more likely to feel anxiety and depression due to persistent fatigue and exhaustion.
  • Daytime fatigue and difficulty in concentrating are some of the symptoms of apnea.
  • Some of the major complications may include increased risk of heart issues, stroke, high blood pressure, chest pain or heart attack.
  • Apnea is so fatal that it might lead to brain damage in extreme cases, so you need to seek treatment immediately.

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Major things to know about sleep apnea

  • Even though not everyone with sleep apnea is obese but the weight is a major risk factor for this sleep disorder and you should keep that in mind.
  • Being overweight means the extra tissues in your mouth can block the airways, thereby increasing the chances of apnea.
  • Smoking, alcohol and nasal congestions are also among the reasons for this sleep disorder.
  • Snoring is not the only symptom of apnea as those who fall asleep at odd times through the days and feel fatigued may also suffer from the problem.
  • Men, particularly middle-aged ones, are more likely to have apnea than women which is confirmed by many studies in the past.
  • Sleep apnea is often undiagnosed because its symptoms in some cases are not clear to people suffering from the problem.
  • Despite being a serious health issue, treatment options are available for sleep apnea and you can benefit from that easily.
  • For those with moderate to severe form of apnea, the right treatment is wearing a CPAP (continuous positive airflow pressure) mask at night.
  • Mouthpieces or oral appliances are other options when someone is not ok with CPAP.
  • Oral surgeries are there for help even if oral appliance for sleep apnea does not work, or does not suit.

If left untreated, apnea can be really fatal and you should understand that well.

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