Do You Know How Sleep Apnea Could Affect Your Body? Find Out!

Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing pauses repeatedly while you sleep. When this happens, your body is conditioned to wake you up to resume breathing. This prevents you from enjoying a good night’s sleep, leaving you feeling extra tired. However, when sleep apnea is left untreated, it could lead to long-term health risks including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Coupled with the lack of sleep, these conditions could harm different systems in your body.

Respiratory system

Sleep apnea can worsen the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, by depriving your body of oxygen while you sleep. You might have more trouble exercising or find yourself short of breath.

Endocrine system

People with sleep apnea could also develop insulin resistance. This is a condition in which the cells do not respond correctly to the insulin hormone. When your cells develop this resistance, your blood sugar level rises and you can even develop type 2 diabetes.

Sleep apnea has also been associated with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of heart disease risk factors like larger-than-normal waist circumference, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and high LDL cholesterol levels.

Digestive system

You are more likely to have higher-than-normal levels of liver enzymes, fatty liver disease, and liver scarring if you have sleep apnea. Apnea can also worsen symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) including heartburn, which could further interrupt your sleep.

Circulatory and cardiovascular systems

Sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure and obesity, which further increases the strain on your heart. If you have apnea, it could increase your risk of a stroke, since you are more likely to have an abnormal heart rhythm (like atrial fibrillation). Heart failure is also common in people with apnea.

Nervous system

Central sleep apnea is a type of sleep apnea that is caused by a disruption in the signals of the brain that enable you to breathe. This could also cause tingling, numbness, and other such neurological symptoms.

Reproductive system

Sleep apnea can affect your ability to have children. In men, sleep apnea could lead to erectile dysfunction. It is known to reduce your desire to have sex.

Other systems

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Sore throat or dry mouth in the morning
  • Trouble paying attention

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