What Are The Health Risks Of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can lead to sleep deprivation from constant nightly interruptions and shallower overall sleep. Lack of sleep is associated with far-reaching health consequences that affect a person physically, mentally, and emotionally, and as a result, it comes as no surprise that sleep apnea has been tied to diverse health problems.
Because of how it affects oxygen balance in the body, untreated sleep apnea raises dangers for various types of cardiovascular issues including high blood pressure, heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
Transitions From Symptomatic To Non
Among patients with good PAP adherence, we found at follow-up that the tendency for each complaintsleepiness, fatigue, tiredness, and lack of energyto have improved from symptomatic to non-symptomatic easily reached significance . Furthermore, the likelihood of such improvement among those who initially were symptomatic was generally higher among PAP-adherent subjects than among those who were inadequately treated . The one exception was for lack of energy. This finding that improvement in sleepiness, fatigue, and tiredness, but not lack of energy depended at least in part on PAP adherence was also confirmed in more complex general linear models in which the change in Likert-scale complaint rating was regressed on hours of reported PAP use per night, age, and gender .
Sleep Apnoea Can Affect Your Driving Ability
People with significant sleep apnoea have an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. Driving authorities recognise certain sleep disorders, including sleep apnoea that can affect driving fitness.
If you live in Victoria, you are legally required to notify VicRoads of any serious or chronic medical condition, injury or disability or the effects of certain treatments that may affect your ability to drive. Failure to do so may affect your insurance cover.
People with sleep apnoea will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and you may be advised to provide medical reports on the severity and treatment of your sleep apnoea. Options may include the issue of a conditional licence until your sleep apnoea is adequately treated.
People with sleep apnoea should also be aware of safety in other situations in which falling asleep could pose a danger to other people.
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What Are The Effects Of Sleep Apnea
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a number of health problems including hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy , heart failure, diabetes, obesity and heart attacks.
Its likely that sleep apnea can cause arrhythmias and heart failure because if you have sleep apnea, you tend to have higher blood pressure. In fact, sleep apnea occurs in about 50% of people with heart failure or atrial fibrillation.
This is because sleep apnea can cause:
- Repeated episodes of oxygen lowering .
- Changes in carbon dioxide levels.
- Direct effects on the heart due to pressure changes within the chest.
- Increased levels of markers of inflammation.
With the high prevalence of sleep apnea in cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure , experts recommend that you dont delay in seeking the advice of your physician.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2020.
Central Sleep Apnea Causes And Risk Factors
Like obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea is more common in men and people over the age of 65. But unlike obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea is often associated with serious illness, such as heart disease, stroke, neurological disease, or spinal or brainstem injury. Some people with obstructive sleep apnea can also develop central sleep apnea when theyre being treated with positive airway pressure devices.
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Can You Reduce Your Risk Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
While some factors such as your family history, age and sex are not within your control, there are some things you can do to decrease your risk of obstructive sleep apnea. This includes losing weight if you are overweight, exercising regularly, eating a heart-healthy diet, not smoking, not drinking alcohol and taking a decongestant before bed if you have allergies.
Your health care provider may also recommend sleeping on your side or practicing good sleep hygiene .
Lifestyle Treatments For Sleep Apnea
For mild cases of sleep apnea, lifestyle changes may be enough to treat the issue. Your doctor will let you know if thats the right starting point. But even if you are prescribed a medical treatment, the following changes can help reduce your sleep apnea episodes and improve your sleep.
Lose weight. If you are overweight, losing weight can have an enormous impact. While it is usually not a total cure, it can reduce the number of breathing episodes you experience, reduce your blood pressure, and decrease daytime sleepiness. Even a small amount of weight loss can open up your throat and improve sleep apnea symptoms.
Exercise. Even when exercise does not lead to weight loss, it can decrease your sleep apnea breathing episodes and improve your alertness and energy during the day. Aerobic exercise, resistance training, and yoga are all good choices for strengthening the muscles in your airways and improving breathing.
Sleep on your side. Lying on your back is the worst position for sleep apnea, as it causes the jaw, tongue, and other soft tissues to drop back toward the throat, narrowing your airway. Sleeping on your stomach isnt much better, since lying face down or twisting your head to the side both obstruct breathing. Lying on your side, on the other hand, helps keep your airway open. If you find side sleeping uncomfortable or you tend to roll on to your back after youre asleep, countered side pillows or body pillows may help.
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Sleep Apnea Can Lead To Heart Problems
“Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. Having obstructive sleep apnea increases your risk of high blood pressure ,” says the Mayo Clinic. “Obstructive sleep apnea might also increase your risk of recurrent heart attack, stroke and abnormal heartbeats, such as atrial fibrillation. If you have heart disease, multiple episodes of low blood oxygen can lead to sudden death from an irregular heartbeat.”
What Else Causes Fatigue
Some lifestyle habits can make you feel tired. Here are some things that may be draining your energy:
- Staying up too late. A good night’s sleep is important to feeling refreshed and energetic. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
- Having too much caffeine. Drinking caffeinated drinks like soda, tea, or coffee late in the day can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. Limit the amount of caffeine you have during the day and avoid it in the evening.
- Drinking too much alcohol.Alcohol changes the way you think and act. It may also interact with your medicines.
- Eating junk food. Say “no thanks” to food with empty calories, like fried foods and sweets, which have few nutrients and are high in fat and sugars. Choose nutritious foods to get the energy you need to do the things you enjoy.
- Getting too little or too much exercise. Regular exercise can boost your energy levels, but dont overdo it.
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How Can I Feel Less Tired
Some changes to your lifestyle can make you feel less tired. Here are some suggestions:
- Keep a fatigue diary to help you find patterns throughout the day when you feel more or less tired.
- Exercise regularly. Almost anyone, at any age, can do some type of physical activity. If you have concerns about starting an exercise program, ask your doctor if there are any activities you should avoid. Moderate exercise may improve your appetite, energy, and outlook. Some people find that exercises combining balance and breathing improve their energy.
- Try to avoid long naps late in the day. Long naps can leave you feeling groggy and may make it harder to fall asleep at night. Read A Good Nights Sleep for tips on getting better rest at night.
- Stop smoking.Smoking is linked to many diseases and disorders, such as cancer, heart disease, and breathing problems, which can drain your energy.
- Ask for help if you feel swamped. Some people have so much to do that just thinking about their schedules can make them feel tired. Working with others may help a job go faster and be more fun.
Can Anxiety Cause Sleep Apnea
On the flip side, anxiety can cause sleep apnea, because symptoms of anxiety can compound and become symptoms of sleep apnea. For example, lack of sleep due to an overactive mind or sleep disruption due to night terrors may lead to excessive daytime fatigue or insomnia.
Research published in the Journal of Medical Sciences suggests, Anxiety is more frequent in OSA patients Therefore, it is advisable for a variety of medical specialists including psychiatrists to keep in mind the probable diagnosis of OSA in such conditions.
So, if you have depressive symptoms and struggle with sleeping or sleep deprivation, its time to ask yourself if you have untreated sleep apnea. You may even be surprised to find that treating sleep apnea can also treat your anxiety.
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What Causes Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses during sleep. Central sleep apnea is usually observed in patients with central nervous system dysfunction, such as following a stroke or in patients with neuromuscular diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis . It is also common in patients with heart failure and other forms of heart, kidney or lung disease.
Signs That Your Fatigue May Be Caused By Sleep Apnea
Written by Dr. Michael Ruscio, DNM, DC on December 16, 2016
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, repeated breathing pauses occur, which often reduce oxygen levels. These breathing pauses are followed by brief awakenings that disturb sleep. While a sleep study is the best way to diagnose sleep apnea, there are certain observations in the mouth that indicate possible sleep apnea. If you struggle with fatigue, find out if sleep apnea could be affecting you.
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The Dangers Of Uncontrolled Sleep Apnea
Youve probably heard that regular exercise and a heart-healthy diet arethe most important things you can do for your cardiovascular health. As itturns out, though, the quality of sleep you receive is also critical toyour hearts wellbeing.
In particular, undiagnosed sleep apnea is directly tied to an increased risk in cardiovascular and metabolic health. The scariest part? You might not even know you have this very common problem.
Sleep apnea happens when upper airway muscles relax during sleep and pinch off the airway, which prevents you from getting enough air. Your breathing may pause for 10 seconds or more at a time, until your reflexes kick in and you start breathing again, explains Jonathan Jun, M.D. , a pulmonary and sleep medicine specialist at the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center.
Sleep apnea occurs in about 3 percent of normal weight individuals but affects over 20 percent of obese people, Jun says. In general, sleep apnea affects men more than women. However, sleep apnea rates increase sharply in women after menopause. Sleep apnea is often linked to heart disease and metabolic issues like diabetes.
What Are The Complications Of Sleep Apnoea
While the symptoms alone are unpleasant enough, sleep apnoea is bad for your overall health.
There is evidence that people with untreated moderate to severe apnoea are more likely to suffer other health problems.
They have an increased risk of:
- higher blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease
University of Queensland researchers are testing whether inadequate oxygen levels during sleep can damage the brain and increase the risk of developing Alzheimers disease, the most common form of dementia.
Research lead Professor Elizabeth Coulson said people who suffered from sleep apnoea that resulted in hypoxia lower levels of oxygen in the blood were up to three-times more likely to develop Alzheimers disease.
UQ is conducting further clinical studies to determine whether treating sleep apnoea lowers the risk of developing dementia.
Sleep apnoea can impair peoples judgement, balance and reflexes, causing accidents at home, work, in public and on the road.
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The Connection Between Sleep Apnea Dizziness And Vertigo
Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep. It can partially or completely stop the airflow, causing an individual to have disrupted, uncomfortable sleep. Even though it is a serious issue, many people do not realize they are living with it. If you have undiagnosed sleep apnea, you may feel fatigued upon waking or experience daytime sleepiness.
Sleep apnea is known by many for the toll it can take on the human body, especially if left untreated. Sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. However, the effects of sleep apnea on the brain can be just as alarming, with some reporting serious side effects such as dizziness and vertigo.
Dizziness and vertigo often go hand-in-hand and sometimes can even be used synonymously, but they are different. At one point, dizziness was a catch-all term for similar conditions including vertigo. Dizziness is an altered sense of spatial orientation and a distortion of where you are within a space, causing your balance to just feel off. Vertigo, on the other hand, is truly the sensation of self-movement or the movement of your surroundingsits literally a spinning sensation.
High Blood Pressure And Heart Problems
According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals with sleep apnea may experience high blood pressure and heart problems. When you stop breathing, this creates a sudden drop in oxygen blood levels. Experts warn those frequent, sudden drops can cause your blood pressure to rise and strain the cardiovascular system.
Furthermore, this sleep disorder increases your chance of getting a heart attack, stroke, or abnormal heartbeats.
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Mood Or Mental Health Issues
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that a lack of sleep is associated with a range of brain-related issues, including a higher risk of depression, irritability, anxiety, and fuzzy thinking.
Although causality is still under active study, there is a link between sleep apnea and depression. In fact, a 2015 study published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that 213 out of the 293 study participants with sleep apnea also experienced clinically-significant symptoms of depression.
âSleep is key to helping our brains and neurological system recharge,â Nunez explains. âUntreated sleep apnea causes you to lose sleep, and without proper sleep, it can take a toll on mental health, resulting in depression or anxiety.â
Reevaluate Your Treatment Plan
If youre actively treating sleep apnea and continuing to battle fatigue, youre not alone. In CPAP users, this can happen in 5 to 55 percent of patients, according to a study published in September 2016 in the journal Sleep Medicine Clinics. The researchers suggest sticking to CPAP therapy, if youre using it improving your sleep habits, which are worth another look asking your doctor if any of your medications are interfering with your sleep and figuring out if you have another underlying condition thats contributing to your fatigue, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism. You should also consider being evaluated for other sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy or restless legs syndrome.
Together, youll get to the bottom of it and feel energized in the future.
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Fatigue Tiredness And Sleepiness
The chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms appear to be more severe than fatigue commonly experienced by healthy people.
Some persons confuse excessive fatigue symptoms with excessive daytime sleepiness. They don’t know exactly what are the difference between them, and they try to treat their fatigue with ineffective treatments.
Degrees Of Severity Of Sleep Apnoea
The severity of sleep apnoea depends on how often your breathing is interrupted. As a guide:
- normal sleep fewer than 5 interruptions per hour
- mild sleep apnoea between 5 and 15 interruptions per hour
- moderate sleep apnoea between 15 and 30 interruptions per hour
- severe sleep apnoea more than 30 interruptions per hour.
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What Is Severe Fatigue
Feelings of excessive fatigue, tiredness and sleepiness have different descriptions. Explaining correctly how do you feel to your doctor may be critical to find the real causes of extreme fatigue.
Let’s learn how can we make the difference between extreme fatigue and daytime sleepiness:
Definition of Extreme Fatigue
According to Sleep Disorders and Sleep Promotion in Nursing Practice, fatigue means an overwhelming sense of tiredness, lack of energy, and a feeling of weakness linked with physical or psychological problems.In simple words, fatigue is an unpleasant feeling that describes sensations of muscle weakness and low energy, but without having sleepiness.Fatigue is something that you feel when:
- you finish the physical activity or exercise,
- you are depressed,
- you are bored, and have no inspiration for doing something.
People with fatigue usually want to rest, sitting down on a chair, or laying down on the bad, but without wanting to sleep.
Definition of Daytime Sleepiness
Sleepiness, is the tendency to fall asleep during the day. A person with excessive daytime sleepiness has the desire to fall asleep or has unintended episodes of falling asleep in during daytime.
Compared to fatigue, sleepiness is in general a pleasant feeling of drowsiness. It makes you lie down, close your eyes, and fall asleep. This sensation is occurs in general before falling asleep.
Tips To Improve Health And Comfort
Choose a CPAP device with a built-in humidifier. Most devices now include a built-in humidifier, which helps prevent the dryness and skin irritation that can sometimes occur.
If youre experiencing nasal congestion, you may prefer a full-face mask over a nasal or nasal pillow mask. Also be sure to keep your humidifier tank full, keep your tubing and mask clean, and make sure your filter is clean. Nasal sprays and antihistamines also help.
Keep your device clean. Its very important to clean your CPAP hose, nosepiece or mask, and humidifier tub regularly, as a dirty CPAP device can cause infections and even pneumonia. Your sleep doctor and device manufacturer will give you detailed cleaning instructions.
To ensure maximum comfort, ask your doctor about soft pads to reduce skin irritation, nasal pillows for nose discomfort, and chinstraps to keep your mouth closed and reduce throat irritation and dry mouth.
Mask the sound of the CPAP machine. Most new CPAP devices are quiet, but if the sound of your CPAP machine bothers you, try placing it beneath the bed and using a sound machine to muffle the noise.
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