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Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing suddenly when you are sleeping. There are different types of sleep apnea, including obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea. All of these have different causes. Unfortunately, many people who have sleep apnea are not aware that they have this condition. Often times, sleep apnea is caught because a partner notices troubling signs while you are sleeping or you have excessive tiredness during the day. Here are a few of the risks of untreated sleep apnea. 

Daytime Fatigue

Young businesswoman in glasses sleeping at her workplaceOne of the risks of untreated sleep apnea is daytime fatigue. Daytime fatigue can range from being sleepy to being unable to stay awake. Being a bit sleepy may not sound like a big deal, until you think about being sleepy day in and day out. It can take a toll on your mindset and your body. Being extremely fatigued can be more than concerning, it can be a safety hazard. Those who are overly fatigued may find themselves unable to stay awake at work and unable to do their job or may fall asleep behind the wheel while driving. They may also be unable to care for their children, which can also be a safety concern. 

Mood Swings

Another risk of untreated sleep apnea is mood swings. Think about what happens to you and your body when you are tired. You do not feel your best and you may find yourself feeling sad, angry or impatient. Those who suffer from untreated sleep apnea are not getting a good night's sleep, and as such, they suffer from mood swings often. This can affect their personal relationships, family relationships and work relationships. In turn, this can cause someone to feel anxious or depressed, and they may seek out help for mental health issues, when their sleep apnea is the root of the problem. 

Medical Problems

The final risk of untreated sleep apnea is medical problems. Those who suffer from untreated sleep apnea are at higher risk for a wide range of medical issues, including high blood pressure, heart problems, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Many of these issues, such as higher blood pressure, heart problems and stroke, are caused because the body is lacking oxygen when you are not breathing. As this happens over and over, it puts strain on the body, causing these conditions. Unfortunately, the problems only worsen over time if sleep apnea is left untreated and may eventually lead to health issues that can lead to death. 

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it is important to have a sleep study done. If it is found that you have obstructive sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome, a surgical procedure may be needed to help open up your airways and prevent the dangerous side effects associated with untreated sleep apnea. Here at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we can go over your options for treating sleep apnea and/or perform surgery to help correct your sleep apnea, consulting with other providers, as appropriate. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment

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