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How Does Untreated Sleep Apnea Affect Long-Term Health

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, and one of the most common complaints of someone with untreated sleep apnea is snoring. Forty percent of adults over 40 snore, often without even knowing it. But, what many people consider an annoying and involuntary habit is often one of the primary symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is more than just the snore, and if left untreated, it can pose serious risks to your long-term health.

There are many forms of sleep apnea, but obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form most closely associated with snoring. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the throat muscles intermittently relax. This relaxation creates blockage or collapse of the airway while you sleep and often results in snoring. Hypopnea is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. It occurs when your breathing is interrupted for longer than 10 seconds at least five times each hour. If your breathing completely stops and you stop taking in enough oxygen, it’s called apnea.

When the airway is blocked, it interrupts breathing during sleep, which leads to snoring. In addition to snoring, untreated sleep apnea can lead to many other health issues.

One of the common causes of OSA includes excess tissue that blocks the airway. An over-large tongue can also block the airway. With the airway blocked, a force of air tries to break through. This is what causes the loud snoring that is often associated with sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is too often left undiagnosed and untreated. Those who have OSA take in less oxygen in their lungs while they sleep. This can lead to a variety of long-term health problems. Some of these include diabetes, obesity, and enlargement of the heart.

Lack of oxygen in your sleep directly affects your cognitive abilities, leading to trouble focusing at work. What’s even more concerning, is that this drop in cognitive function makes you more likely to have driving or work-related accidents. Decreased intake of oxygen makes you more likely to have increased blood pressure and more likely to suffer a heart attack or a nocturnal stroke. Nearly 80% of nocturnal strokes can be directly attributed to OSA. Those who don’t find a way to manage their OSA can find their life expectancies shortened by as many as 12-15 years.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment to combat effectively. That’s why the skilled team at Hudson Valley Sleep Solutions is prepared to help you find the root of your sleep apnea and devise the best possible course of treatment for you. While there is no cure for obstructive sleep apnea, we have several treatments available to help you sleep better.

We’re proud to offer you top-of-the-line care at our state-of-the-art facility, so you can have the best quality of both life and sleep possible.

Don’t let your sleep apnea get between you and a good night’s sleep, schedule your initial consultation today!