Sleep apnea may not seem like that big of a deal, especially if you live alone and don’t bother anyone with the snoring and constant stopping and restarting of your breathing. But what you may not realize is that sleep apnea is a serious, even deadly condition that should be treated as such. In fact, sleep apnea in itself isn’t the only danger – there are many co-morbid conditions that come along with sleep apnea that could put your health and your life at risk. Here’s why you should take sleep apnea seriously and do what you can to stop it.
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA), sleep apnea can increase your risk of stroke by causing breathing problems. As you snore or struggle for breath, you are depriving yourself of vital oxygen to the brain, which increases the risk of stroke. Worse yet, you can also keep your partner from getting a good night’s sleep, causing their stroke risk to increase along with yours.
High Blood Pressure
Another serious, possibly fatal condition that can be caused by sleep apnea is high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure occurs when the pressure in your arteries is elevated. Unfortunately, it has no symptoms, so it can be hard to know you have it. It can be caused by sleep apnea, because sleep apnea deprives the body of blood oxygen levels as you sleep or attempt to sleep. Those drops in blood oxygen levels puts excess strain on the heart.
A recent study has found that patients with drug-resistant major depressive order (MDD) may be resistant to antidepressant medication because of their sleep apnea. Sleep apnea has been found to make drug therapy ineffective or not as effective as it is for patients without sleep apnea.
Though it is not known if sleep apnea causes suicidal tendencies, patients with major depressive disorder are more likely to have suicidal tendencies. If that depression is influenced by sleep apnea or is influencing sleep apnea, it could raise your risk of suicide and suicidal tendencies.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Though there is no cure for sleep apnea per se, there are many treatments available, including a custom sleep orthotic from Dr. Mingus. This appliance can help prop open your airway as you sleep and is more comfortable than many orthotics offered through sleep clinics. It also eliminates the need for CPAP therapy, which can be awkward and uncomfortable. Studies have shown that only about 30 percent of patients on CPAP therapy wear their CPAP mask as prescribed, making the therapy largely ineffective to most users.
To be evaluated for sleep apnea or sleep apnea treatment, call Dr. Mingus at 541-382-6565.