What Are the Health Complications Associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a respiratory problem where you stop breathing in your sleep. Normally, as you go to sleep the muscles relax and the airway narrows and you continue to breathe normally. In some of us the airway collapses down all the way, and we call that an apnea, and that's where the term comes from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

If you have enough of these events in your sleep, we say you have the disorder of Sleep Apnea. When you have Sleep Apnea, your breathing is continuously disrupted during your sleep. It's as if you're suffocating, moment after moment, and this can happen hundreds of times throughout the night when your airway collapses and you're suffocating, oxygen is dropping.

This is a respiratory emergency. Your body responds by releasing adrenalin and inflammatory substances into the bloodstream. It's essentially perceiving that you are under attack and coming to your rescue. So you have activation of the sympathetic nervous system, a type of fight-or-flight and in addition to that, your brain has to keep interrupting sleep to get you breathing again.

Both are disruptions of sleep with the brain coming to your rescue and that fight-or-flight response, night after night after night pays a toll on your body. You're at risk for heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, you're more likely to have premature death and ageing, diabetes and you'll increase your weight and your emotions will tend to be more fragile and you'll have depression and you could have anxiety.

So if you are someone who snores and if your sleep is very very restless at night, if you're tired during the day or if you have any of those things I mentioned, then you want to consider you're suffering from Sleep Apnea, and there are some simple things that you can do to solve it.

First step, just reach out to your doctor and let them know.