What are the Effects of Untreated Sleep Apnea?

As many as 22 million people in the U.S. suffer from sleep apnea. But, did you know that 80% of sleep apnea sufferers go undiagnosed and untreated? That means there's millions of people out there who have difficulty sleeping that could cause a long list of other health and safety problems. These problems could be improved by doctor-prescribed treatments involving the use of CPAP medical equipment and sleep apnea masks. If you or someone you know believe you have sleep apnea, be sure to ask your doctor about CPAP therapy and learn more about CPAP comfort and compliance

So what are the effects of untreated sleep apnea? It actually boils down to two main categories: the health effects of low blood-oxygen during sleep and the mental and physical effects of poor sleep quality and chronic fatigue.

The Effects of Low Blood-Oxygen Levels

Sleep apnea causes the sufferer to stop breathing many times during the night. It can also cause people to snore loudly, breath unevenly, and gasp for breath repeatedly as they're trying to sleep.

All this has the effect of lowering the sufferer's blood-oxygen levels. This means not enough oxygen can enter the various parts of the body, from muscles and organs to the brain itself. Low blood-oxygen levels, happening chronically during the night, can cause many health problems, including some that might be surprising. Some studies suggest that untreated sleep apnea can contribute to Alzheimer's disease.

Cardiovascular Effects from Sleep Apnea

Low blood-oxygen causes stress to your heart and blood vessels, making your cardiovascular system work harder and even doing serious damage.

This can lead to these health problems and more:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Impotence
  • Headaches

It's clear that low blood-oxygen levels can cause health issues that are major, life-shortening, and even life-threatening. 

The Effects of Poor Sleep Quality & Chronic Fatigue

In addition to all the cardiovascular issues caused by low blood-oxygen from sleep apnea, sufferers also experience fragmented sleep and poor overall sleep quality. That means they're consistently not getting enough sleep; which can cause problems with everything from physical health to mental health, emotional well-being, and even physical safety.

Mental & Physical Health Issues with Poor Sleep

Poor sleep quality doesn't just make sleep apnea sufferers feel tired frequently during the day. Chronic fatigue can cause mental and emotional problems that can contribute to physical issues. Increases in depressed feelings or mood might lead someone to have a poor diet or exercise less frequently. This can lead to weight gain, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.

Consistent poor sleep is also known to cause mental and cognitive issues ranging from memory problems to trouble concentrating or focusing. It can even affect the sufferer's reasoning and decision-making abilities.

Safety Issues with Poor Sleep

An issue many people may not think about is that chronic fatigue and daytime sleepiness can actually impair the sufferer's judgement and coordination. Some may even fall asleep randomly throughout the day, which can be embarrassing at work or a major danger while driving or operating heavy machinery.

Simply put, untreated sleep apnea, and the poor sleep quality it causes, increases the sufferer's chances of having a car accident, falling, or getting injured at work or in the home. That means sleep apnea can endanger not only the safety of the sufferer, but also the safety of the people around them as they try to go about their daily lives.

What's the Good News?

Sleep apnea can be treated using methods like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. CPAP devices force air into the users lungs throughout the night to keep blood-oxygen levels up and help ensure better sleep quality. So, all the negative effects we've detailed in this article can be improved or even eliminated using professionally planned and monitored CPAP therapy.

At RemZzzs®, we're here to help CPAP users everywhere get the most from their therapy. Our soft, breathable cotton CPAP mask liners help masks fit better and more comfortably on CPAP users' faces. The goal is to make it easier for sleep apnea sufferers to comply with their therapy and reduce or avoid all the health problems they could face if they go untreated. Again, if you think you may have sleep apnea, ask your doctor about CPAP therapy. If you'd like to learn more about how to sleep comfortable during CPAP therapy using RemZzzs click the button below!



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