Health Risks Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Untreated sleep apnea prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep. When breathing is paused, you’re jolted out of your natural sleep rhythm. As a consequence, you spend more time in light sleep and less time in the deep, restorative sleep you need to be energetic, mentally sharp, and productive the next day. This chronic sleep deprivation results in daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes, poor concentration, and an increased risk of accidents.

When sufficient air doesn’t get into a person’s lungs, the level of oxygen in the blood falls and the level of carbon dioxide, which is a waste product of metabolism, rises. After a period of not breathing, the brain triggers a response to arouse a person to wakes up, and breathing resumes. This period of time can range from a few seconds to over a minute and is referred to as an apneic event. When breathing resumes, the size of the airway still remains reduced in size and this cycle happens over and over.

Repeated episodes of falling oxygen levels lead to a variety of physiological changes that affect the heart and blood vessels. During these episodes, the heart is stressed, which increases blood pressure and heart rate. There is also an increased secretion of hormones and substances that are released with stress, as well as increased production of compounds that produce inflammation.

These repeated metabolic and cardiovascular stressor episodes lead to serious health problems over time and sleep apnea requires medical attention and treatment. For patient’s suffering from sleep apnea in Chicago, ORA® Oral Surgery, Sleep Disorder & Implant Studio can be an important part of their solution.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea and accounts for 84% of all types of sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea affects 24% of men and 9% of women between the ages of 30 and 60 years of age and there is an even higher prevalence of OSA in overweight people and patients over the age of 60. OSA has major and severe health risks that include:

  • Hypertension (HTN) – 80% of difficult to control hypertension is related to undiagnosed OSA
  • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) – 50% of congestive heart failure scenarios are related to undiagnosed OSA
  • Cerebrovascular Accidents (CVA) – 60% of strokes are related to undiagnosed OSA
  • Myocardial Infarction (MI) – 30% increased risk of heart attacks
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Lack of desire
  • Fifteen-fold increased risk of motor vehicle accidents and work-related injuries
  • Premature mortality is associated with untreated and undiagnosed OSA

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