Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can cause chronic sleeplessness that leads to fatigue when you need to be alert and awake, making you a more dangerous driver and raising the chance that you may harm yourself or someone else in an accident. Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax, causing vibrations which result in obstructed airways, snoring and even the cessation of regular breathing as you sleep. This cycle of sleeping, snoring and asphyxiation causes sufferers to wake up several times a night as their body struggles to fall into and remain in a restful REM sleep. Sleeplessness has been compared to the effects of alcohol, especially when it comes to driving. Considering that drunk driving is such a big cause of death and injury while driving, if your sleep apnea is causing you to get a reduced amount of sleep on a daily basis, it’s similar to driving while legally drunk. Because sleep disrupts the normal sleep pattern, it can make you feel tired, slow your reaction time, and lead to confused thinking and memory loss. At Houston Sinus & Allergy, we assess patients for the severity of their condition, and determine a treatment that will allow for a restful sleep.
Sleep apnea side effects are varied and many of them have serious consequences including death. Here are a few instances of some common side effects of sleep apnea and their impact on overall health and quality of life of the individual.
While obesity is one of the prime triggers for the onset of sleep apnea (close to 70% of diagnosed patients are either obese or overweight), unexplained increase in body weight is also one of its effects. The reason why a person with sleep apnea gains excess weight is understandable when you understand the impact reduced sleep has both on the body and mind. Sleep apnea can also upset the balance of appetite-related hormones (Leptin and Ghrelin) which contribute to weight gain. Researchers are not too sure whether obesity or sleep apnea arrives first, but the fact remains that increase in body weight can pave the way for several heart conditions, including stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, ischemic heart ailments, irregularity of heart beats and more. Though no direct causal relationship between sleep apnea and heart ailments have been established yet, but their close association has been proved time and again. Another way sleep apnea causes heart problems is by dispensing cortisone as well as raising the levels of C-reactive protein.
A possible reason for the onset of diabetes in apnea patients could be the effect of apnea in maintaining blood glucose levels. Another hypothesis regarding diabetes being one of the important sleep apnea side effects is that during apnea episodes, there is an increased production of cortisol hormone which in turn leads to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and create pre-diabetic conditions. Other effects of sleep apnea include asthma, pulmonary hypertension, seizures, glaucoma, etc. Apart from the adverse effect of this sleep disorder on family and relationships, the sex life of both the partners can be majorly affected. Nocturia (waking up several times in the night for urination) is another, rather inconvenient effect of sleep apnea. In a study, involving 10000 adults, published in the journal SLEEP, it was observed that chances of developing depression increased substantially, when the patient simultaneously shows sleep apnea symptoms.
When you sleep, the muscles and tissues in your throat relax, shrinking your airway in the process. Now, the commuter railroad is setting about establishing a screening process for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is an often-undiagnosed disorder; its sufferers rest poorly at night because their airway relaxes or collapses, blocking air and causing breathing to stop. Currently, the most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is CPAP, a machine that uses a mask and hose to push a steady flow of air into a person’s airway while they sleep. If you suspect you or someone you love may have sleep apnea, see your health care provider right away. Two new studies have found that people with sleep apnea, a common disorder that causes snoring, fatigue and dangerous pauses in breathing at night, have a higher risk of cancer. About 28 million Americans have some form of sleep apnea, though many cases go undiagnosed.
In one of the new studies, researchers in Spain followed thousands of patients at sleep clinics and found that those with the most severe forms of sleep apnea had a 65 percent greater risk of developing cancer of any kind.
The researchers wondered whether a similar relationship might exist in people with sleep apnea, in whom throat muscles collapse during sleep, choking off the airway and causing gasping and snoring as the body fights for air.

In one study, a team at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health examined data on state workers taking part in the long-running Wisconsin Sleep Cohort, who since 1989 have undergone extensive overnight sleep studies and other measures of health about every four years.
In the second study, researchers with the Spanish Sleep Network took a slightly different approach, looking not at cancer mortality among apnea patients, but at the incidence of cancer. Researchers have drawn a link between migraine headaches and sleep apnea, and believe that sleep apnea may be a migraine trigger.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in the journal Sleep found that there is a high association between depression and anxiety and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is commonly associated with high blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke, and heart failure. Sleep Apnea is a serious health condition most easily described as disruptions in regular breathing during sleep.
Sleep Apnea can be diagnosed by symptoms such as unintentionally falling asleep during the day, fatigue, insomnia, waking from gasping for breath, and loud snoring. In the worst cases, sleep apnea obstructs the airways so badly that you actually stop breathing for up to a few minutes at a time.
Although sleep apnea may sound like a fancy description for snoring, it can lead to stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack and even psychological effects like depression and anxiety.
Some doctors consider five hours or less of sleep for a week straight or going an entire day without sleep to be the equivalent of having a blood alcohol content of 0.1, which is above the legal limit in many jurisdictions. Visit a doctor who specializes in the issue to deal with your sleep apnea as soon as you’re able.
Learn about the sleep apnea treatments we provide that have helped countless patients with sleep apnea, or book an assessment with our experienced ENT, Dr.
The condition is associated with a wide range of health complications, both long and short term, that not only jeopardize daytime quality of life but also play a pivotal role in inviting a host of other dangerous illnesses and health calamities. This is not only most noticeable but also one of the most dangerous as it can easily lead to increased chances of road accidents, injuries, etc.
It has been observed that gaining excess weight in the trunk as well as the neck areas of the body could result in breathing problems during sleep.
Breathing pauses or apnea episodes instantly results in the fall of oxygen levels and build-up of carbon dioxide in the brain. This kind of outcome is common with patients of sleep apnea, 40 to 60% of who suffer strokes. While a large number of people affected by type 2 diabetes also suffer from sleep apnea, the rationale of the linkage has been attributed to major sleep fragmentation interspersed by hypoxia and less quantity of sleep having detrimental effects on the metabolism of blood glucose levels. If the male partner is affected by sleep apnea, he may show lack of interest in sex as well as suffer from erectile dysfunction. You may have heard of obstructive sleep apnea and how snoring can often indicate the common sleep disorder. Many of those diagnosed with apnea are are overweight, snore, or have a large neck size (more than 17 inches for men).
Those who use CPAP often report quick and substantial improvement in the way they sleep, which can effect positive changes in mood, restfulness, productivity, and even weight.
The new research marks the first time that sleep apnea has been linked to cancer in humans. For sleep doctors, the condition is a top concern because it deprives the body of oxygen at night and often coincides with cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes.
Joseph Golish, a professor of sleep medicine with the MetroHealth System in Cleveland who was not involved in the research. The second study, of about 1,500 government workers in Wisconsin, showed that those with the most breathing abnormalities at night had five times the rate of dying from cancer as people without the sleep disorder. When mice with tumors were placed in low-oxygen environments that simulate the effects of sleep apnea, their cancers progressed more rapidly.
Severe sleep apnea can produce hundreds of such episodes each night, depleting the body of oxygen.
The landmark project was one of the first to reveal the widespread occurrence of sleep apnea in the general population. People with moderate apnea were found to die of cancer at a rate double that of people without disordered breathing at night, while those in the severe category died at a rate 4.8 times that of those without the sleep disorder.

The researchers found that the greater the extent of hypoxemia, or oxygen depletion, during sleep, the more likely a person would receive a cancer diagnosis during the study period. Martinez-Garcia speculated that treatments for sleep apnea like continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, which keeps the airways open at night, might reduce the association.
Studies have shown that after successful sleep apnea treatment, migraines could be reduced by 50 percent. Researchers analyzed data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Researcher Database and found a high association between sleep apnea and panic disorder, a psychiatric disorder where debilitating anxiety and fear strike frequently and without reasonable cause.
Sleep apnea is also directly related to high blood pressure, stroke, acidic damage to the esophagus, obesity, and depression. More importantly, a chronic lack of sleep causes you to become less alert and slower to respond to waking life. One study reviewed the implication of this effect on the daily life of apnea patients and found that there is a 2 to 3-fold increase in the chances of road accidents when one suffers from sleep apnea.
Recurrent breathing pauses may result in poor rate of glucose tolerance, which can gradually promote gaining excess weight, which could make sleep apnea more serious.  There is link between obesity, diabetes and sleep apnea. This happens because sleep apnea interferes with levels of testosterone (male sex hormone). Though they are present only for a few hours after waking, it still remains a frequent complaint from apnea patients. However, new research suggests that snoring may prove dangerous to your health even without the presence of OSA. In cases of obstructive sleep apnea, your airway can close completely, forcing you to stop breathing. The studies were observational, and other, unknown factors may account for the correlation between sleep apnea and cancer. Migraines may be caused by low oxygen in the brain and inflammation that result from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is also associated with obesity, which can be another contributing factor to heart disease.
When you continue with this lifestyle, weight gain is a natural consequence, which in turn aggravates the apnea condition further where the sleeplessness continues. In the Sleep AHEAD study, it was revealed that undiagnosed sleep apnea was present in 86% of subjects suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Repeated apnic episodes (which can occur hundreds of times a night) can inhibit the oxygen flow to your brain, and OSA has long been linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. An individual could develop depressive symptoms because he or she has an undiagnosed underlying sleep disorder; patients who have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder could also display symptoms of depression. According to researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, the risks to your health may actually begin with snoring itself, before it even becomes obstructive sleep apnea.
Afterward, his medical examination revealed that he was unknowingly waking about 65 times an hour while sleeping. Board Certified Medical Doctors review and analyze your test results to determine your levels of sleep apnea.
On the other hand, the levels of Ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry increases, when you have sleep apnea. Though no cause for the derailment has been established, many point the finger at Rockefeller’s sleep disorder. It is important to remember here that the rise and fall of these hormones are directly linked to poor sleep. This custom mouthpiece moves the jaw and tongue into a position that allows proper airflow during sleep.

Causes for sleep disorders
Frequent nighttime urination and leg cramps

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