sleep apnea consequences

What Are The Long-Term Consequences Of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea has a lot of negative effects on the body. The disruption of sleep caused by this disorder can cause daytime sleepiness, changes in mood, and even result in a lack of focus or alertness. Immediate side effects, however, are not the only issues to be weary of when suffering from the dangerous problems of sleep apnea, there are many long-term side effects that have been recently been gaining more medical attention. Serious health risks can be a result of sleep apnea including high blood pressure, problems with weight fluctuation, depression, and a general sense of laziness and confusion.

High blood pressure is a serious problem for thousands of Americans, but few people know that it can be a result of sleep apnea. During an apnea, the body struggles for oxygen. When the body is fighting for air, the carbon dioxide level in the blood shoots up. Generally, this shot of carbon dioxide wakes up the sleeper so that they can begin to start breathing properly again. During the night, the pattern continues and the heart faces the consequences; it must work harder. The increased activity in the heart results in heightened blood pressure. When the heart is working extra hard continually, every single night, there is extra stress placed on the heart which can lead to more serious health issues including heart disease and sometimes heart failure. Undetected high blood pressure can also result in a stroke.

People who suffer from sleep apnea for a long period of time can also experience changes in the serotonin levels produced by the body. Serotonin is the chemical released in the body that is responsible, in large part, for healthy mood stabilization. When the chemical becomes imbalanced, the body’s natural state of being and mood become unbalances as well. An imbalance of serotonin can easily lead to depression in people suffering from apnea. Without something to balance the levels of the important chemicals, many people suffering from sleep apnea also suffer from depression.

Serotonin levels are not the only thing affected by the slowing or stopping of breath. The body’s metabolism is also seriously affected by changing levels of oxygen. When the body is deprived of oxygen, the metabolism stops functioning correctly and more is required for the burning of calories. An offset metabolism can result in sluggish energy levels, and people with sluggish energy are highly likely to eat more and exercise less. This can easily result in weight fluctuations which, in turn, can cause more apneas.

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