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How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Health

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Sleep Apnea Can Affect Not Only Your Physical Health But Can Have Serious Consequences For Your Eyes And Vision Too

If you have sleep apnea, it may be affecting your eyes. Glaucoma and dry eye are just two eye conditions that sleep apnea can cause. Schedule an eye exam to learn more about how sleep apnea affects your eyes and what you can do to protect eyes.

Sleep apnea has been found to not only cause health problems such as high blood pressure and heart failure, but also serious eye problems. 

If you suspect you have an eye condition, contact an eye doctor near you, who can diagnose and treat the condition.

An Overview Of How And Why Sleep Plays Such An Integral Role In Physical Health

The relationship between sleep and overall physical health  is well-documented. Sleep allows both the body and brain to recover during the night. A good night’s rest ensures you’ll feel refreshed and alert when you wake up in the morning.

Sleep deficiency will not only leave you feeling tired, but can increase your risk for a wide range of diseases and health problems. These include obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. A lack of sleep also poses a threat to your physical safety. Studies suggest up to 19% of U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis

Sleep Apnea Puts You At Greater Risk Of Accidents And Other Safety Issues

In addition to the health effects of inadequate sleep, sleep apnea has also been shown to increase risk of accidents from driving while drowsy, according to the AASM. A study published in March 2015 in the journal Sleep found that people with sleep apnea were 2.5 times more likely to be the drivers in motor vehicle accidents than people who don’t have apnea.

“One of the ways sleep apnea presents is as excessive daytime sleepiness,” says Dasgupta. “People may fall asleep behind the wheel or experience microsleep” — brief moments of sleep that last one to 30 seconds that you may not even realize you are experiencing.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it’s important to be treated as soon as possible. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea but continue to experience symptoms, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, talk to your doctor about whether you should try a new treatment.

The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated and the related health risks reduced, says Dasgupta. Some people may be reluctant to go see a doctor and have a sleep study done because they’ve heard that you need to go to a sleep center to be hooked up to monitors and machines, he says, but the diagnosis process is much easier than it was in past decades.

“Today, a sleep study is not the Frankenstein’s monster with tubes coming out you might picture,” says Dasgupta. “You can do a home sleep study in your own bed.”

What It Is Its Risk Factors Its Health Impacts And How It Can Be Treated is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

Sleep apnea is a condition marked by abnormal breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea have multiple extended pauses in breath when they sleep. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the body’s supply of oxygen, leading to potentially serious health consequences.

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States. It can affect children and adults and people of both sexes, although it is more common in men.

Because of sleep apnea’s prevalence and potential health impact, it is important for people to be aware of what sleep apnea is and to know its types, symptoms, causes, and treatments.

The Following Data Show The Severity Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

How Does Lack of Sleep Affect Your Health

*Data from Article in Journal of the Saudi Heart Association 179 · March 2015 with 214 Reads DOI: 10.1016/j.jsha.2015.03.004

For individuals, should to think about how to reduce the occurrence of sleep apnea syndrome.

Here are some effective ways to find the sources of sleep apnea.


Smoking can increase the possibility of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.Smokers are more likely to get sleep apnea than those who do not smoke.


The Elderly and middle-aged have a higher risk of OSA.If you occurs sleep disorder at that age, please check your body in time.

3)Heart Diseases

Snoring may lead to cardiopathy, such as pulmonary heart disease. When the body is in a chronic intermittent hypoxia and acidosis state for a long time, which actually affects the heart.Sleep O2 which is an easy-to-wear product helps you record heart rate and blood oxygen during sleep, effectively helps you understand the quality of sleep to judge health.

4)Neck obesity

People with thicker necks might have narrower airways.Obesity patients with neck fat deposition can lead to upper respiratory obstruction in varying degrees.

5)Alcohol and Sedative

What You Need To Know About How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Heart

Snoring can keep you awake, ruin your sleep cycle and your daily rhythm, even harm your relationships. But more than being just an annoyance, snoring may bring about life-threatening consequences.If you’ve ever awakened yourself with a sudden snore — or if your partner nudges you awake to get you to turn over — it’s possible you could be affected by sleep apnea, which is associated with high blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke and heart failure.  

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Has Been Associated With Gum Disease

If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common type of sleep apnea, you may be more at risk for gum disease .

While the link between the two isn’t conclusive, experts speculate that the systemic inflammation OSA causes may make gum disease more likely. However, more research is needed to better understand the connection between the two disorders.

People With Sleep Disorders May Be More At Risk For Bruxism

Research has linked sleep disorders such as sleep apnea to an increased risk for bruxism, also known as teeth grinding . The connection isn’t well understood, but people who suffer from sleep apnea should be evaluated for teeth grinding during their regular dental exam.

Getting treatment for bruxism is essential, as it can lead to fractured teeth, gum inflammation, and even tooth loss. Symptoms may include morning headaches, sensitive teeth, or a sore jaw or teeth.

These Are Eight Of The Health Risks Related To Sleep Apnea:

1. High blood pressure

Studies have shown that sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, also known as “hypertension.” The amount of increase in blood pressure is related to the severity of sleep apnea; more severe sleep apnea produces greater increases in blood pressure. Elevations in blood pressure even can occur in children who have sleep apnea.

2. Heart disease

Untreated sleep apnea is a risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2005. Sleep apnea increases your risk for an irregular heartbeat, coronary artery disease, heart attack and congestive heart failure. A 2006 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that sleep apnea even affects the shape of your heart. Results show that the hearts of people with sleep apnea are enlarged on one side, have thickened walls and a reduced pump function.

3. Stroke

Sleep apnea increases your risk for stroke, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2005. A stroke is a “brain attack” that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. It can result from either a blood clot that blocks an artery or from a broken blood vessel.

4. Brain damage

A study in the journal SLEEP in 2008 provided visual evidence of brain damage that occurs in people with sleep apnea. The damage affects brain structures that help control functions such as memory, mood and blood pressure.

5. Depression

6. Diabetes

7. Obesity

8. Mortality

Originally published in 2008

Treating Sleep Apnea To Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease

Talking to a doctor about sleep apnea is an important step that anyone can take to protect their heart health. If a person is diagnosed with sleep apnea, treatments are often effective. Treatment for sleep apnea depends on the type of sleep apnea detected and may include:

  • Lifestyle changes: Doctors may begin by informing patients about lifestyle changes that may reduce the severity of this condition. Weight loss, exercise, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, and even changing your sleeping position may be helpful.
  • Positive airway pressure devices: PAP devices pump air through the airway, preventing the upper airway from collapsing during sleep.
  • Mouthpieces and oral appliances: Oral appliances reduce disordered breathing by changing the position of the jaw, tongue, or other part of the body that’s constricting the airway.
  • Mouth and throat exercises: Depending on the cause of a person’s sleep apnea, special exercises of the mouth and throat may help tone these muscles, making them less likely to interfere with breathing during sleep.
  • Surgery: Surgery for sleep apnea may involve changing parts of the body that cause airway constriction or implanting devices that causes tightening of the muscles around the airway.
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The Risk Of Glaucoma Is Higher If You Have Sleep Apnea

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology , people who suffer from sleep apnea are more likely to develop glaucoma, an eye disease that can eventually cause vision loss, than those who don’t have apnea.

It’s not yet fully understood how sleep apnea may cause glaucoma, but as with other health problems associated with sleep apnea, researchers hypothesize that the eye disorder could stem from the decreased levels of oxygen circulating in the blood, according to the AAO.

Diagnosing And Treating Sleep Apnea For Better Health

It’s important to treat sleep apnea, because it can have long-term consequences for your health. While there have been some high-profile deaths linked to sleep apnea—such as with Judge Antonin Scalia —Jun says that the true risk is from damage done over time.

Obstructive sleep apnea can range from mild to severe, based on a measurement system called the apnea-hypopnea index . The AHI measures the number of breathing pauses that you experience per hour that you sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea is classified by severity:

  • Severe obstructive sleep apnea means that your AHI is greater than 30
  • Moderate obstructive sleep apnea means that your AHI is between 15 and 30
  • Mild obstructive sleep apnea means that your AHI is between 5 and 15

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Whether or not you need treatment for sleep apnea depends on its severity, whether or not you have symptoms such as sleepiness and other health conditions. For example, if you have risk factors for heart disease, your doctor might opt to treat you even for mild sleep apnea. On the other hand, if you have a severe case of sleep apnea, your doctor might insist on treatment even if you’re not sleepy.

Not very relaxing, right? Luckily, it’s treatable.

Sleep Apnea Increases The Risk Of High Blood Pressure

How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Health? (And Why Should ...

When you stop breathing and your oxygen levels fall, your brain sends a message to increase adrenaline in the body which causes the heart to pump harder and blood vessels to constrict.  These changes occur in an effort to increase the amount of available oxygen to the heart and brain but also cause intermittent increases in blood pressure.  These changes can raise your risk for hypertension and place a significant stress on your cardiovascular system, according to the NSF.

If you have sleep apnea and high blood pressure, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider to make sure your sleep apnea is treated. Treatment of sleep apnea is an important part of managing hypertension.

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis And Oxygen Desaturation Effects

Patients who develop sleep disturbances often seek the aid of a physician who commonly refers them for sleep studies. Sleep studies can yield important diagnostic information about a person’s sleep cycles, oxygen levels, and the quantity and length of breathing interruptions.

What is the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and lower oxygen levels during sleep? How does sleep apnea lead to oxygen desaturations that may affect overall health?

Dry Mouth Can Lead To An Increased Risk For Cavities

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airway becomes blocked during sleep due to the muscles collapsing around the airway, leading to an inability to get air into the lungs. The brain will then signal you to wake up so breathing can resume.

When air has trouble getting into the lungs yet has not stopped completely, it will create a vibration in your throat leading to snoring. Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea.

Snoring also causes the mouth to remain open during sleep in an effort to get enough air into the body. Breathing through the mouth causes the oral cavity to dry out, which can lead to an increase in oral bacteria that could influence your risk for cavities .

Saliva flow is already reduced during sleep, so mouth breathing can exacerbate this effect to make tooth enamel damage more likely.

What Health Conditions Are Linked To A Lack Of Sleep

Adults who sleep less than 7 hours each night are more likely to say they have had health problems, including heart attack, asthma, and depression.3 Some of these health problems raise the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. These health problems include:

  • High blood pressure. During normal sleep, your blood pressure goes down. Having sleep problems means your blood pressure stays higher for a longer period of time.4 High blood pressure is one of the leading risks for heart disease and stroke. About 75 million Americans—1 in 3 adults—have high blood pressure.5
  • Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that causes sugar to build up in your blood, a condition that can damage your blood vessels. Some studies show that getting enough good sleep may help people improve blood sugar control.6
  • Obesity. Lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy weight gain. This is especially true for children and adolescents, who need more sleep than adults. Not getting enough sleep may affect a part of the brain that controls hunger.6

Snoring & Sleep Apnea: How It Can Affect Your Health

What is the difference between snoring and sleep apnea? Does snoring mean sleep apnea? Snoring refers to a grunting sound that comes out from your nose while you sleep. It is caused due to the vibration of certain tissues in the back of your throat. Sleep Apnea is actually a breathing problem that occurs while you are asleep. People with Obstructive Sleep Apnea temporarily stop breathing for few seconds while asleep. It’s a serious health issue and can become fatal if it’s left untreated. The quality of your life will seriously be impacted. If you are suffering from Snoring, snoring treatment can help you. In case you are suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, you must consult your doctor for sleep apnea treatment.

Learn About Other Precautions To Help You Stay Safe

Sleep apnea can increase your risks of complications if you are having surgery, and it can affect your ability to drive.

  • Before surgery. If you are having any type of surgery that requires medicine to put you to sleep or for pain management, let your surgeon and doctors know that you have sleep apnea. They might have to take extra steps to make sure that your upper airway stays open during the surgery and when selecting your pain medicines.
  • Driving precautions. Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea can decrease learning capabilities, slow down decision making, and decrease attention span, which can result in drowsy driving.

What Is Sleep Apnea And How Does It Affect The Body

Sleep apnea is a medical condition where breathing pauses during sleep due to the airway becoming blocked or collapsing. When this occurs, you wake up so breathing can resume. These sleep interruptions prevent you from sleeping well and can cause health issues, including an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Dr. Avi Ishaaya is a board-certified physician in pulmonary, sleep, internal, and geriatric medicine, who treats sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. At Dr. Avi Ishaaya Centers in Los Angeles, CA, he performs sleep apnea and sleep studies for patients suffering from insomnia and other sleep problems.

Can Sleep Apnea Prevent You From Having Deep Sleep

With sleep apnea, you intermittently stop breathing for short periods during sleep. These pauses in breathing trigger a reflex in your body to startle you awake just enough to take a breath. Many don’t notice these arousals because consciousness is not fully gained. But sleep will become fragmented—potentially resulting in fatigue and a host of other health issues. Here, we discuss the effects of sleep apnea on the stages of sleep and how sleep apnea may be robbing you of deep sleep.

Treatment For Obstructed Sleep Apnoea For Children

The Sleep Apnea Spectrum and What You Can Do About It ...

Large tonsils and adenoids can block the throat during sleep and cause snoring. In some cases, this is bad enough to cause poor quality sleep and severe breathing problems, called obstructive sleep apnoea .

The more severe your child’s OSA is, the more likely it is that removing the tonsils and adenoids will help improve their health’s and quality of life. 

Tonsillectomy is most likely to improve OSA for children with noisy breathing while asleep most nights and at least two other related problems present even when they not sick such as:

  • struggling to breathe while asleep
  • pauses in breathing during sleep
  • gasping or choking during sleep
  • persistent daytime mouth breathing
  • daytime tiredness, concentration or behaviour problems not related to other causes

However, mild problems can get better as a child gets older without surgery. Two out of three children with mild sleep apnoea get better over six months without surgery. Waiting six months may be a good option if you are not sure. 

Safer Care Victoria has developed a Making a decision about tonsillectomy fact sheet to support parents in making an informed decision about tonsillectomy for their child together with their child’s doctor.

There are also fact sheets to help families understand what to do before a child’s day of tonsil surgery, what to expect and how to care for their child after this surgery. 

See the fact sheets here:

Sleep Apneas Effects On The Cardiovascular System

The repetitive pauses in breathing that characterize sleep apnea can stress and potentially damage not only the heart, but the whole cardiovascular system. While researchers are continuing to learn about the ways in which sleep apnea affects the cardiovascular system and contributes to heart disease, several biological pathways have been suggested.

How Does Treating Sleep Apnea Improve Your Health

John: What are some of the other great effects on your health that you’ll see when you start to fix these issues with sleep apnea?

Dr. Nammy: The number one is dream. People dream about dreaming. I actually have patients tell me that, “I dream about dreaming,” because a lot of times people are getting sleep but they’re not getting that good REM sleep that we need, which is anti-aging and it’s healing the rest of the body. That’s when your body is fighting cancer, it is fighting disease. Gut issues is a common one. Hormonal imbalance, bed-wetting, ADHD. Those are all things that are caused by poor sleep, or not the dream sleep. And so when we can get you in that dream sleep, it really helps your body relax and breathe better and really heal on its own.

John: And you said that by learning how to not breathe through your mouth or, again, fixing those issues that you have with your tongue and your mouth and your jaw, you’re breathing then through your nose and then your mouth is not going to dry out and be that place where all of that bacteria can grow, right?

Dr. Nammy: Right. And the other thing you can avoid is a lot of crowns, because the number one reason why people get crowns is because they chip their teeth. The number one reason why people lose teeth is because of gum disease. So if we can get rid of the cause of these things then you are in great shape.

Sleep Apnea Increases Risk Of Metabolic Syndrome

Research — including a meta-analysis of 39 studies on sleep apnea and metabolic syndrome published in April 2018 in the World Journal of Diabetes — shows a connection between sleep apnea and metabolic syndrome, the name for a group of risk factors that increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other health problems.

According to the NHLBI, if you have three of the following risk factors, you have metabolic syndrome:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Increased waist size or excess abdominal fat in the stomach area
  • High fasting blood sugar

Healthy Lifestyle Changes To Prevent Sleep Apnea

If you are concerned about having risk factors for developing sleep apnea, ask your doctor to recommend healthy lifestyle changes, including eating a heart-healthy diet, aiming for a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol intake. Your doctor may recommend that you sleep on your side and adopt healthy sleep habits such as getting the recommended amount of sleep.

How Does Physical Activity Help You Sleep Better

Sleep plays a vital role in your mental and physical wellbeing. Different processes that occur during sleep help to promote healthy brain activity and maintain good overall health. For children and teenagers, sleep is also key for proper growth and development.

Sleep deficiency can interfere with these bodily processes. The term “sleep deficiency” refers to the inability to get enough high-quality sleep. This may occur due to sleep deprivation, or simply not getting enough sleep, or there may be other underlying reasons, such as a sleep disorder or circadian rhythm misalignment. A lack of high-quality sleep means your body has less time to recover during the night. This can also lower your body’s defenses against diseases and medical conditions.

The effects of sleep deprivation on physical health include:

  • Immunohealth: During sleep, there is a peak in the number of certain T-cells, various cytokines, and other important components of your immune system. Not getting enough sleep can affect how the immune system responds to viruses and other infections. Long-term reduction in sleep can also lead to persistent low-level inflammation throughout the body, which underlies many chronic medical conditions.
  • Cognitive Performance: A good night’s sleep can improve your ability to concentrate, be creative, and learn new skills. People who don’t get enough rest often have a hard time paying attention and are more likely to commit errors at work or in school.

Other Positive Airway Pressure Breathing Devices

In addition to CPAP, there are other devices that a sleep specialist may recommend for sleep apnea treatment.

Expiratory positive airway pressure single-use devices fit over the nostrils to help keep the airway open and are smaller, less intrusive than CPAP machines. These may benefit people with mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

Bilevel positive airway pressure devices can be used for those who are unable to adapt to using CPAP, or for central sleep apnea sufferers who need assistance for a weak breathing pattern. This device automatically adjusts the pressure while you’re sleeping, providing more pressure when you inhale, less when you exhale. Some BiPAP devices also automatically deliver a breath if the mask detects that you haven’t taken one for a certain number of seconds.

Adaptive servo-ventilation devices can be used for treating central sleep apnea as well as obstructive sleep apnea. The ASV device stores information about your normal breathing pattern and automatically uses airflow pressure to prevent pauses in your breathing while you’re asleep.

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