Just like high blood pressure and diabetes, Sleep Apnea is a chronic disease that can impact quality of life and damage general health. We know that patients with untreated sleep apnea suffer an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and that risk increases over time. Through treatment of sleep apnea, improvements in quality of life can be achieved while maintaining or even restoring optimal overall health. Don’t ignore your symptoms. Proactive treatment can prevent further complications from sleep apnea, including conditions that could become life threatening. Let’s take a look at several factors that underscore why treatment is so vital to your health.
Mental health professionals often ask patients who are suffering from depression about their sleeping habits. The relationship between sleep and depression are complex yet undeniable. Studies have shown that depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depression. For some suffers, depression symptoms occur before the onset of sleep complications: for others sleep problems appear first. Research has shown that people with depression were found to be 5 times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. While the connection is clear, there is good news. By treating sleep apnea, depression has been shown to improve in proportion to the sleep problems being diminished!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, while stroke takes fourth place for the cause of death and is a leading cause of disability. High blood pressure is a major factor for both conditions. The relationship among sleep apnea, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease is very strong. These facts make it important to understand this connection. Repetitive disruption of sleep throughout the night puts the body in a condition of severe stress, occurring with each episode of apnea. Over time, numerous adverse health consequences may result as a direct result of this stress.
When oxygen levels drop, carbon dioxide levels increase. As a result, the brain, sensing trouble, signals the body to release adrenaline-like substances into the blood stream- a type of fight or flight reflex. When this occurs, blood pressure increases, thus linking sleep apnea to high blood pressure. Low levels of oxygen trigger the body to release other substances that can eventually damage the lining of the blood vessels. This damage might eventually cause or worsen high blood pressure and other forms of heart disease or heart problems.
When blood sugar levels rise to abnormally high levels, the kidneys attempt to get rid of it through urination. When this occurs, getting up and going to the bathroom throughout the night can wreak havoc on an otherwise normal pattern of sleep. Diabetes and sleep complications go hand in hand, as clearly blood sugar anomalies can overtly contribute to sleep loss. Evidence even exists which suggests that not sleeping well can increase your risk of developing diabetes. If you are not sleeping well at night, you might want to have your blood sugar levels checked by a physician.
In conclusion of why treat sleep apnea you must not lose hope and realize that treatment has improved a lot during the last 10 years, which means if you have tried addressing and treating your sleep apnea before with no luck, try again. Because sleep apnea can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, it is just one more reason for you to seek treatment before it is too late!
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