Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with an overwhelming urge to eat? You probably haven’t, because most people experience this kind of episode once or twice a week. For others, it can be almost every night. It’s an unpleasant side effect of the sleep apnea syndrome, a condition that’s incredibly common and has a lot of serious ramifications. Here are some of them:
One of the most significant problems caused by sleep apnea is obesity. Just about everyone with sleep apnea is likely to be overweight or obese, which has serious ramifications for their overall health, especially if they continue to ignore the warning signs. Sleep apnea is directly associated with multiple health risks, such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. It’s also responsible for increased wear and tear on the bodies of those suffering from it. For more information on the link between sleep apnea and obesity, read this article from the American Sleep Apnea Association:
The sleep apnea syndrome causes a great deal of harm to cardiovascular health. For one thing, the episodes of breathing problems trigger the body’s “fight or flight” response, which puts the human body in a state of high alert. This makes the heart work harder, and thus puts the person at risk for heart disease. Sleep apnea is also associated with high blood pressure, which makes the heart work even harder. This, in turn, can lead to heart attack or stroke.
The sleep apnea episodes that trigger the “fight or flight” response interfere with brain function as well. When the body is in this state, it’s more difficult to concentrate, as your mind is focused on what’s happening inside your body. This, in turn, makes it harder for the brain to control the body’s functions. Several studies have shown that excessive daytime sleepiness, caused by sleep apnea, can be a sign of depression and anxiety disorders.
Immune System Health
Another danger associated with sleep apnea is the weakened immune system it causes. Your body is not at its best when you have a poorly functioning immune system, and there are several infectious diseases that become more prevalent when the body’s number of immune cells is low. Infections become more difficult to treat, and they can even lead to death in some cases. This, in turn, makes sleep apnea a significant health problem, especially in the elderly population. It’s a common cause of death in this group:
In addition to the problems detailed above, sleep apnea is also responsible for more than just weight gain and bad blood sugar levels. It can cause snoring that disturbs sleep, which in turn, leads to marital problems and even acts as a trigger for some people with mental disorders. For more information on how much weight you might lose while you sleep, read this article from the American Sleep Apnea Association:
How Much Weight Do You Lose While You Sleep?
For many, losing weight is one of the primary motivations for seeking treatment for sleep apnea. It’s certainly a common desire to feel better about one’s looks, especially if they’re carrying a lot of extra weight that they’d like to lose. While it’s true that most people with sleep apnea are overweight or obese, it’s not just that – it’s that they have a much higher metabolic rate than those who don’t have the syndrome. This makes them burn calories at a much faster rate, which in turn, makes them a greater risk for diabetes and heart disease. If you’re looking to get started with a weight loss program, make sure that your doctor prescribes medication to help with sleep apnea first.
If you’re a man, odds are high that you’ve experienced a significant amount of marital strife, especially if you’ve been married longer than ten years. In those instances, sleep apnea is quite common, and it can cause a great deal of damage to your personal life. People with this condition often experience severe snoring that can be both annoying and distressing for those around them. On the other side of the coin, their sleep apnea can also cause sleep deprivation, which makes them irritable and acts as a trigger for some people with mental disorders. For those individuals, it can be hard to determine what caused their behavioral changes, but it’s usually traced back to some sort of marital discord. If you’re having trouble with your marriage, it might be a good idea to chat with your doctor about whether or not sleep apnea is a part of your problem.
Increased Risk Of Death
It isn’t unusual for people with sleep apnea to experience increased risks of death. This is mainly due to the condition being so prevalent in the obese population, and it being closely associated with other health problems that often lead to early death. In some cases, the death of a family member was attributed to sleep apnea, which had a huge impact on the victim’s relatives. These people are often left grieving the loss of a loved one, never fully recovering from the shock and grief of it all. For those who are closely monitoring the condition, it’s a common sight to see people with sleep apnea, suffering from heart disease and diabetes, get hit by a car and collapse on the side of the road. They usually don’t make it to hospital, and this is where the problems start.
It’s not just the fact that sleep apnea is associated with increased risks of death that makes it such an undesirable condition. It also frequently causes other problems that are difficult to live with. Many people with this condition experience severe daytime sleepiness that inhibits their ability to function at work. For those who are physically active, it can be difficult to get motivated to hit the gym when you have sleep apnea, since it interferes with your sleep and makes you drowsy during the day. This is why it’s best to avoid becoming a regular at the gym, if you have sleep apnea, because it won’t do any good to improve your health if you can’t cope with the day-to-day life demands. It will only cause you more problems.
Mental Health Issues
As stated above, sleep apnea can cause significant problems for the immune system and the cardiovascular system. This, in turn, can cause mental health issues as well. Many people with sleep apnea experience extreme irritability and anxiety when they don’t get enough sleep, especially if they’ve been deprived of it for a while. This, in turn, can cause them to become more aggressive and to act out in ways that might be challenging for them to control. It’s not unusual for people with sleep apnea to experience some sort of mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety. If you or someone you know is showing signs of depression or anxiety, it might be a good idea to have them screened for sleep apnea, since there might be a connection. Getting treatment for sleep apnea can sometimes help with these issues as well, since it provides some level of relief from the constant stress that comes with being diagnosed with the condition.
Reduced Ability To Function
Let’s say that you’re driving down the highway, listening to loud and distracting music, when all of a sudden, you’re overcome by the urge to nap. If you don’t have enough hours in the day, this is extremely irritating, since you have to stop what you’re doing to take a break, and it’s difficult to do anything while driving. If this happens frequently enough, it becomes counterproductive. In those cases, it’s best to avoid highways and take side streets if you need to take a break from driving. It’s the same with work – if you find that you’re becoming less productive due to excessive sleepiness, it might be a good idea to take a break from your job, at least for a while.
If you have sleep apnea, you likely lose a significant amount of weight while you sleep, which in turn, has serious ramifications for your overall health. On the other hand, getting treatment for this condition can sometimes help with the other problems it causes – the ones that make it worth living with, rather than simply tolerating the condition.