Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts at night. Luckily, it is treatable. An oral surgeon can often successfully address the problem.
If your physician recommends treatment, you should follow their advice. Sleep apnea is a condition that many patients don’t even realize that they have until they have received a diagnosis. Thus, they may not understand that it is actually a serious problem that needs to be treated sooner rather than later. Following are a few key reasons why you should undergo treatment as soon as possible if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
People with sleep apnea rarely experience a full night of rest. This can significantly impact their energy level during the day. Fatigue is one of the most common complications that people with sleep apnea develop. Unfortunately, it’s not merely a nuisance. Fatigue can affect your work performance and make it dangerous to drive or operate heavy machinery. In addition, it can even impact your relationships with important people in your life. Since fatigue can lead to an irritable mood and poor decision-making, it’s possible that you’ll have difficulty relating to friends, family members, and coworkers in a positive way.
If you undergo treatment to correct sleep apnea, your quality of life can improve greatly. You’ll enjoy higher energy levels, enhanced concentration, greater safety, and the ability to interact with others in a more pleasant manner.
There’s another reason why people with sleep apnea sometimes struggle to maintain healthy relationships with their loved ones: the condition can result in loud snoring that can make it difficult for anyone nearby to sleep.
It’s not uncommon for the partners of patients with sleep apnea to choose to sleep in another room in order to be able to rest. Those who don’t sleep elsewhere often experience sleep deprivation themselves. When two people in a relationship are sleep deprived, it becomes especially difficult to be able to get along.
Again, you shouldn’t blame yourself if this occurs before you seek treatment. If you don’t realize that you have sleep apnea, your partner might not, either. You might both simply assume that you snore loudly. However, once a physician provides a diagnosis, you’ll do both yourself and your partner a favor by obtaining treatment quickly.
High Blood Pressure
People diagnosed with sleep apnea often experience low blood oxygen levels at night. As a result, this increases the strain on their cardiovascular system, which can result in chronic high blood pressure over time. People with certain forms of sleep apnea are actually more susceptible to heart attacks and strokes than the average person. If they already have underlying cardiovascular issues (a relatively common problem in the developed world), they’re at an even greater risk for health complications. By obtaining treatment for sleep apnea, you’ll protect your heart in a significant way.
People who are overweight have an above-average risk of developing sleep apnea. The problem is, the condition can also make it difficult for people to lose weight. Fatigue prevents many people diagnosed with sleep apnea from being able to exercise easily. Additionally, the fatigue that results from sleep apnea could actually make a person more likely to put on extra weight. Studies indicate that people who are sleep deprived have greater hormonal activity that triggers food cravings. On the other hand, the hormones that help to suppress cravings are less active in such individuals. This creates a cycle that can be difficult for patients to escape without treatment. Their fatigue can lead to weight gain, which in turn may exacerbate their sleep apnea.
Diabetes and Liver Problems
Heart disease and obesity aren’t the only health conditions that a person with sleep apnea may develop. People diagnosed with this condition are more likely than most to develop insulin resistance, which can put them at greater risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Physicians have also identified an association between sleep apnea and liver problems. Liver tests undertaken in people diagnosed with sleep apnea often reveal abnormalities and signs of scarring.
Although the exact nature of the connection between sleep apnea and liver problems is not yet completely understood, evidence indicates that sleep apnea may be responsible for worsening the symptoms and effects of conditions such as fatty liver disease. As of now, researchers believe that depriving the body of oxygen results in greater inflammation, which can exacerbate fatty liver disease.
Again, this does not mean you have to live with these complications. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you should discuss treatment options with your oral surgeon. If other options fail, surgery can correct the underlying issue causing the problem, resulting in a happier and healthier patient.