Sleep apnea is a serious health disorder where breathing repeatedly stops for a while when the person is asleep. The main symptoms of this disorder are loud snoring, abrupt awakening, morning headache, insomnia, hypersomnia, irritability, and sore throat. There are three main types of sleep apnea: Central Sleep Apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and Complex Sleep Apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax; Central Sleep Apnea occurs when the brain does not send information to the muscles, which control breathing; while Complex Sleep Apnea happens when someone has both the apnea mentioned above. Given below are the complications you may experience if you have sleep apnea.
People having sleep apnea may experience daytime fatigue, irritability, and drowsiness because of repeatedly awakening from sleep. One may find difficult to concentrate or may fall asleep while working, watching TV, or even while driving.
After major surgery, people with sleep apnea may be more prone to breathing problems when they are sedated and lying on their backs. So it is advised to notify the doctor about the problem before surgery.
Sleep apnea patients may experience some metabolic syndromes like high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol, high blood pressure, and an increased waist circumference.
For those who have sleep apnea, it is likely that they may have abnormal results on liver function tests, and their livers might show signs of scarring as well. This condition is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop in people who have sleep apnea when compared to those who do not have the sleep disorder.
Due to a sudden drop in blood oxygen level during sleep apnea, blood pressure increases and causes strain in the cardiovascular system. This means that the risk of stroke is high for those having Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Sleep apnea may result in a decrease in concentration, vigilance, attention, visuospatial and verbal memory, and even lead to dementia in older people. Children diagnosed with sleep issues may also experience learning disabilities.
Stroke in patients having sleep apnea is said to occur mostly between 06:00 am and 08:00 am, as it is the time when a person wakes up normally. A deprived sleep may be the reason for that.
Obesity leads to narrowing and sporadic obstruction of the airways, which in turn, worsens snoring and sleep apnea. Excessive weight gain also leads to overstretching of the diaphragm or less contractility of chest wall muscles, which all further complicate the health issue.