How Untreated Sleep Apnea Can Lead to Serious Health Issues

A man sleeping on a bed With the advancement in technologies used by doctors for medical diagnosis, sleep studies and diagnosing sleep disorders have become much easier than before. One of the most common sleep disorders, affecting around 1 in 4 Americans, is Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Not only can Sleep Apnea keep you from restful sleep, but if left untreated, it can cause other major health issues.

Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by many physiological factors. However, the most common causes of obstructive sleep apnea are obesity, cardiovascular problems, and aging. Although living a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy weight, may help prevent sleep apnea or reduce the symptoms, some individuals are predisposed to the condition.

Regardless of the cause, obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition where the muscles around the throat relax and block the airway. This prevents adequate air from entering the lung with each breath. This can occur for a minute or longer and may happen hundreds of times each night. Over time, the lack of oxygen can not only cause an unrestful night’s sleep, but it can also disrupt the levels of oxygen in the blood and affect brain and body functions.

Those with obstructive sleep apnea may not be aware of the condition. The most common signs are loud snoring, pauses in breathing, or choking or gasping sounds. However, insomnia, daytime fatigue and sleepiness, and morning headaches are also signs of obstructive sleep apnea. A sleep study will help rule out other causes of the symptoms.

If left untreated, daytime drowsiness and irritability will increase. And if severe enough without treatment, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to major health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain.

There are treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea that are proven very successful. While some patients are successful in using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, surgical intervention can permanently and successfully help prevent obstructive sleep apnea and eliminate the need to use CPAP therapy at night.

There is no reason to let obstructive sleep apnea prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep or living a healthy lifestyle. Call the ENT and Allergy Centers of Texas in the North Plano area at 972-984-1050 or visit to schedule an appointment today.

Posted in: Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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