When you suffer from sleep apnea you experience pauses in your breathing while you're asleep; in short, you’re having brief bouts of suffocation. Sleep apnea can lead to variety of serious health problems if left untreated.
Sleep apnea can contribute to a variety of physical health problems including an increased risk of: type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, irregular heartbeat, stroke, and heart attack.
Pauses in breathing caused by sleep apnea wake the sufferer frequently in the night. This means that they don’t get the amount or quality of sleep they need.
Insufficient sleep has been linked to a higher risk of both anxiety and depression. Some studies have shown that those who suffer from sleep apnea are more likely than the general population to experience these mental health issues.
Quality of Life
Lack of sleep can have significant negative impacts on your day-to-day life. Sleep apnea patients often have difficulty concentrating on tasks, feel exhausted, or short tempered and listless.
Sleep apnea can affect patients’ relationships as well. Not only are their own personalities affected, but their sleep partners will likely be getting less sleep because of the snoring caused by sleep apnea. The lack of sleep for both partners can result in greater tension and stress on the relationship.
The lack of sleep and lack of oxygen to the brain that sleep apnea causes can mean serious problems for your memory.
Sleep apnea has been linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies have shown that people with sleep disordered breathing (like sleep apnea) experience earlier onset of mild cognitive impairment compared to people without sleep disordered breathing. This means that the forgetfulness we associate with old age may start younger in individuals suffering from sleep apnea.
It's fair to say that the inconvenience of sleep apnea testing and treatment is well worth it for all the health issues you may be able to avoid as a result.
If you think you're suffering from sleep apnea, do yourself, and your family, a favour and get yourself tested.