Sleep apnea is a potentially fatal illness characterized by the following symptoms:
- Stopping breathing while sleeping
- Low oxygen levels
- Waking up from sleep
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for breath
- Breathlessness during the daytime
These symptoms can cause other significant problems. Excessive sleepiness can cause car or work-related accidents. Additionally, memory issues and difficulties with everyday cognitive functions can start to occur. These issues can cause concentration problems, poor work performance, and social problems with friends, family, and relationships as well as changes in your mood, including links with many mental health issues, such as anxiety, bipolar disorders, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and psychosis. Along with these mental disturbances, if left untreated, people with sleep apnea can develop high blood pressure, various heart problems, type 2 diabetes, pulmonary disease, or stroke. Some researchers even speculate about the correlation between Alzheimer’s and sleep apnea.
For these reasons, it is imperative that when you or a loved one is experiencing some of these symptoms, you partner with your doctor and get tested to see if you have sleep apnea. While this illness, when untreated, can have detrimental health effects, you can typically manage sleep apnea with a CPAP device and a sleep therapy plan. Being diagnosed with sleep apnea can seem daunting and getting used to the new equipment and lifestyle can be challenging; however, you will be amazed at how quickly symptoms subside, and you start feeling better overall.