Sleep apnea can be an annoying problem because it wakes you up several times a night and disrupts your partner’s sleep as well. But it’s much more than that because it can also introduce risks to your overall health. Here are five ways sleep apnea can affect your overall health.
1. Sleep Apnea can Worsen Asthma and COPD
If you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnea can make those problems worse. Sleep apnea deprives your body of oxygen while you sleep. It also causes inflammation in the airways, which then constricts them, making it more difficult for you to breathe. That can make any kind of respiratory problems you might have worse.
2. Apnea Increases the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Sleep apnea can additionally increase your risk of developing insulin resistance. This is a condition where your cells don’t respond well to the hormone insulin. This hormone is what moves blood sugar into your cells for energy. When you’re resistant to insulin, it can’t do its job, thus putting you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
3. Sleep Apnea is Associated with Metabolic Syndrome
Because sleep apnea can affect your endocrine system, which is the system responsible for hormone production, it can be associated with metabolic syndrome. This syndrome includes a cluster of heart disease risk factors.
Among the risk factors are high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol levels, and high blood sugar levels. All of those problems can eventually lead to heart disease. In addition, those with sleep apnea and heart disease are more likely to experience other heart problems like atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
4. Apnea Negatively Affects Your Digestive System
Because sleep apnea is associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, it can aggravate non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). These conditions throw off the levels of lipids in your blood and cause inflammation in the gut.
The effects on the digestive system can also worsen heartburn and other problems that result from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). These problems can disrupt your sleep even more.
Call Us for Help!
Sleep apnea is much more than a nuisance when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. It can also be associated with more serious health concerns, depending on your medical history and current diagnoses. Don’t put yourself at unnecessary risk. If you believe you’re experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, seek the professional attention you need. At the Wheaton Dental Sleep Center, we want to help. Give our office a call today, and we’ll help you get a better night’s sleep.