how sleep apnea affects your healthOne problem with sleep apnea is that many patients aren’t aware that they have it. This compounds another problem with sleep apnea – the fact that it can significantly affect your overall health and wellbeing. If you have the condition, then the loud snoring that accompanies it may have an immediate impact on your sleeping partner. But you might not immediately realize the sleep you’re losing, or how it affects other aspects of your life.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea (or more accurately, obstructive sleep apnea) is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing while you sleep. Patients with OSA will snore loudly as mouth and throat tissues clog their airway, causing the tissues to vibrate loudly. Oral tissues continue to collapse into the airway until eventually breathing stops completely, and moments later, the body is forced to wake up and breathe again. If you have sleep apnea, this cycle can occur hundreds of times a night, and though you may not rouse from unconsciousness, you’ll be prevented from entering R.E.M. sleep.

The Risks of OSA

Rapid Eye Movement, or R.E.M., is the deep level of sleep that your mind and body need to properly rest and rejuvenate. When sleep apnea deprives you of obtaining it, you can begin to feel the effects of sleep deprivation even though you believe you’re sleeping soundly at night. The labored breathing associated with OSA also means that your body is forced to work harder to obtain less oxygen. The combined sleep and oxygen deprivation can lead to significantly increased risks of many chronic systemic conditions, including;

  • High blood pressure
  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Weakened immune system
  • Trouble healing/recovering from injuries
  • Mental health issues, including depression
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