Sleep apnea appears like a simple sleep disorder with loud snoring as its common symptom. How can specialists say it is a dangerous condition? The truth is it is not only a dangerous sleeping disorder, but it is also a fatal one. Sleep apnea complications cover the minor effects from fatigue to daytime sleepiness, from stroke to heart failure. It these are not frightening enough, sleep apnea can ultimately lead to sudden death.
Daytime Fatigue and Sleepiness
One of the most obvious sleep apnea complications is the feeling of fatigue and sleepiness on waking hours during the day. The frequent sleep disturbances experienced during sleep apnea bouts greatly reduce the quality and number of sleeping hours. The lack of sleep results to the demand of the body for sleep. At times, the afflicted person involuntarily falls asleep in the middle of performing a daytime task like working in front of the computer, or even while driving. The lack of sleep affects mental alertness. The risk is higher for factory and construction workers engaged in complicated machine operation or detailed works.
Sleep Apnea Complications on Heart and Blood Circulation
• Coronary Artery Disease and Heart Attack – The relationship between sleep apnea and heart disease is even stronger. Persons with obstructive sleep apnea are more prone to suffer from a heart attack due the weakening of the heart when it is made to pump harder during apnea episodes.
• High Blood Pressure – People who have sleep apnea have higher risk of acquiring high blood pressure even if they are not obese. Snoring, frequent sleep disturbances and mild sleep apnea are factors commonly associated with hypertension.
• Stroke – The association between sleep apnea and death is also higher for those who had previously suffered from a stroke.
• Heart Failure – Most often, patients with heart ailments are also experiencing sleep apnea. The two types of sleep apnea are both linked with heart failure. The absence of oxygen during apnea bouts can worsen the heart ailment condition and increase the chances of death.
• Atrial Fibrillation – Sleep apnea is a common companion for people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat.
• Abnormal Growth – Infants and children with sleep apnea, but remained untreated, are least likely to gain weight or grow according to their age. The lack of quality sleep hampers the production of their growth hormones. This may also possibly affect their heart and central nervous system.
• Hyperactivity and Attention Deficiency – Children with sleep disorder often display these sleep apnea complications.
People with sleep apnea are more prone to depression that may worsen as the sleeping disorder intensifies. This may lead to other psychological problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the occurrence of nightmares.
Human Relationship Complications
Sleep apnea is often accompanied by loud snoring, which can create disturbance and irritate the patient’s roommate or bed partner. The sleeping disorder does not only affect the person with sleep apnea alone, but his spouse or partner who may become susceptible to daytime fatigue, irritability, depression and lack of sleep. In some cases, sleep apnea can sever a relationship because of the disturbing noises from snoring.
An untreated case of sleep apnea can be lethal. People who have it have higher risk of dying than those who are not suffering from this sleeping disorder. There are several ways to treat the condition, but there is a need to see a specialist first for a proper diagnosis and prognosis of treatment. Sleep apnea complications are indeed scary and they can affect not only the patient, but also the people around him, especially while he sleeps. It can affect people of all ages, gender, or status. If the snoring gets louder and followed by brief silence, it is time to see a doctor when you wake up.