The dangers of untreated sleep apnoea

Sleep apnoea can make for a bad night's sleep and even worse health problems.

Sleep apnoea not only makes for a poor night’s sleep for you and your partner, but it can also lead to more serious health issues.

Put simply, sleep apnoea is when your throat closes up and you stop breathing during sleep, repeatedly depriving your brain of oxygen for moments at a time.

The condition raises your risk of a range of health issues, but when treated, you can reduce your risk or maybe cure some of the following issues.

1. High blood pressure
Repeatedly waking during the night to catch your breath adds stress to your body, making your hormone systems go into overdrive and lowering the oxygen levels in your blood and raising your blood pressure. Treating sleep apnoea will lower your blood pressure and may even mean you can come off BP meds.

2. Heart disease
The stress of sleep apnoea leads to an increased risk of heart attacks and atrial fibrillation. It also alters the way your brain takes in oxygen, making it difficult to control how the blood flows to your major organs.

3. Weight gain
Being tired can lead to your body releasing the hunger hormone ‘ghrelin’. This causes your body to try and compensate for the lack of energy through cravings for sugar, fats and carbs. This leads to weight gain, and those extra kilos, in turn, raise your chances of getting stuck in the sleep apnoea cycle.The extra weight can lead to fatty deposits being stored in your neck, which makes it harder to breathe at night. Impaired breathing makes the conversion of your food to energy more difficult. Treating sleep apnoea will give you more energy for exercise and subsequent weight loss.

4. Type 2 diabetes
Around 80 per cent of people with sleep apnoea will develop type 2 diabetes. This is because the condition can lead to obesity and disrupt the body’s ability to properly process insulin.

5. Adult asthma
It’s common for adults with sleep apnoea and the resulting difficulty breathing to develop asthma attacks. Treatment for sleep apnoea will lead to fewer attacks and easier breathing at all times of the day.

6. Car accidents and other mishaps
Feeling tired from poor sleep can lead to falling asleep behind the wheel and other dangerous mishaps. In fact, people with sleep apnoea are five times more likely to have a road accident

Treatment
There are many treatments available for sleep apnoea, the main one being a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). These are usually prescribed after some form of sleep study. A CPAP is a device that attaches to your nose or, in some instances, covers the whole face, and will help sufferers sleep better and feel refreshed and energetic during the day.

Short of surgery, there are also a range of mouth appliances and nerve stimulators that keep the airways open at night.

Of course, you should consult your doctor if you suspect that you have sleep apnoea. Treated, it can make a huge difference to the quality of your life.

Read more at www.health.harvard.edu

Do you have sleep apnoea? How did you handle it?

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    COMMENTS

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    margie
    23rd Mar 2018
    11:33am
    I've just been diagnosed with sleep apnoea and have an appointment with the specialist in about three weeks. I've heard that the CPAP machine costs from $1500 to $3000 and if that's the case, I have no idea what I'll do as being a pensioner, that kind of money is out of reach. I'm hoping there is some more affordable alternative.
    Anonymous
    23rd Mar 2018
    3:37pm
    That's what happens when we have Right-wing scumbag beancounter governments - the Lieberals.
    Lockie
    24th Mar 2018
    5:36pm
    margie

    On this site there is a sponsored link to a "My snoring Solution" for a chine strap $79.95 https://snore-solution.com/indexf2.

    But you can buy one from ebay https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/183037658274 for AUD$4.99 delivered in a week! My wife said it is effective.
    Gerry
    23rd Mar 2018
    11:56am
    margie, there are cheaper alternatives that work well, I have used an MAS appliance for years due to my sleep apnoea & find it quite OK to use, not as uncomfortable as a CPAP machine & provides me with a much better sleep experience than waking up 25 times per hour

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandibular_advancement_splint
    margie
    24th Mar 2018
    12:57pm
    Thanks Gerry, I will check that out, much appreciated
    Garry
    23rd Mar 2018
    2:31pm
    I have used a CPAP machine since August 2011. After taking about a week to get used to the full face mask and machine, I can say that my sleeping has vastly improved, and I have also felt much better.
    Since using the mask, my wife and I have also travelled overseas and found using the mask no problems whatsoever. However it is a bit of an inconvenience to have to carry it around with you but nothing that cannot be overcome.
    My wife is also very happy that I am now using a CPAP machine.
    Also, staying in touch with your CPAP specialist and having a review of your results once a year is imperative.

    23rd Mar 2018
    3:34pm
    The RIDICULOUS number of advertisements on YLC webpages make the articles nearly unreadable.

    23rd Mar 2018
    3:41pm
    Weight-loss goes a long way towards solving sleep apnoea. How to lose weight? I lost nearly 60 kg by giving up bread, rice, pasta and potato.
    Gerry
    23rd Mar 2018
    3:56pm
    There is also lasering of the soft palette, but if a CPAP machine is stretching you then this would be prohibitively expensive (circa $4K).
    Gerry
    23rd Mar 2018
    4:09pm
    There is also lasering of the soft palette, but if a CPAP machine is stretching you then this would be prohibitively expensive (circa $4K).
    margeh
    23rd Mar 2018
    10:06pm
    My husband is a pensioner and received his machine free. He had to buy the mask.
    margie
    24th Mar 2018
    1:05pm
    Thanks margeh, I'm also a pensioner so perhaps I will be able to get the machine for free. Will check with the doctor.
    greygeek
    24th Mar 2018
    1:01am
    I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea in mid 1999. My brain is so "hardwired", that if the power goes off, I automatically wake up! I am unable to "nod off" or lay down or take a snooze without my cpap! Prior to diagnosis I had got to the stage of no longer trusting myself to drive at night, and during the day had the windows down and would sing along to the music on the radio, to keep me alert! Margie, I live in WA and know that Public Hospitals have sleep clinics and free machines. I believe there are also some available free of charge from certain agencies, although, I am unable to remember their names, sorry!! Initially, with the full mask, I felt like "hannibal lector" lol! Now, it does not bother me or my husband one bit!! Good Luck!!
    margie
    24th Mar 2018
    1:00pm
    Thank you, will check out the public hospitals and also google the agencies, appreciate the feedback.
    pamelawayans
    9th May 2018
    9:54pm
    I have had ASTHMA my whole life but about 7 years ago my asthma got so bad and was diagnosed of EMPHYSEMA/COPD which was most likely due to the asthma. I was on double antibiotics and steroids, still didn't feel any better. My lungs were constantly wheezing in all four chambers, i already used Advair, Spiriva, and Albuterol in my nebulizer, they just didn’t do much. April 2016 my sister in-law told us about Rich Herbs Foundation where she ordered herbs that effectively treated her arthritis. We ordered their COPD herbal treatment after reading alot of positive reviews, i am happy to report this COPD herbal treatment reversed my lungs condition. My quality of life has greatly improved and every one of my symptoms including difficulty breathing and wheezing are gone. Their official web page is ww w. richherbsfoundation. c om. I will be 52 soon and have never been healthier!
    pamelawayans
    9th May 2018
    9:54pm
    I have had ASTHMA my whole life but about 7 years ago my asthma got so bad and was diagnosed of EMPHYSEMA/COPD which was most likely due to the asthma. I was on double antibiotics and steroids, still didn't feel any better. My lungs were constantly wheezing in all four chambers, i already used Advair, Spiriva, and Albuterol in my nebulizer, they just didn’t do much. April 2016 my sister in-law told us about Rich Herbs Foundation where she ordered herbs that effectively treated her arthritis. We ordered their COPD herbal treatment after reading alot of positive reviews, i am happy to report this COPD herbal treatment reversed my lungs condition. My quality of life has greatly improved and every one of my symptoms including difficulty breathing and wheezing are gone. Their official web page is ww w. richherbsfoundation. c om. I will be 52 soon and have never been healthier!
    michellemartin
    17th May 2018
    5:56pm
    I was diagnosed with COPD 5 years ago and was taking Spiriva and Advair plus nose sprays to slow down progression. My symptoms have always been shortness of breath, and dizziness. I am a 54 year old male. the Spiriva wasn’t really working and I could not tolerate them for long due to severe side effects, so this year our family doctor started me on Natural Herbal Gardens COPD Herbal mixture, We ordered their COPD herbal treatment after reading alot of positive reviews, i am happy to report with the help of Natural Herbal Garden natural herbs I have been able to reverse my symptoms using herbs, my symptoms totally declined over a 9 weeks use of the Natural Herbal Gardens COPD natural herbal formula. My COPD is totally reversed! Their official web page is www . naturalherbalgardens . com After the herbal treatment I also finally was able to give up smoking after 20 years. I ‘m thankful to nature
    michellemartin
    17th May 2018
    5:57pm
    I was diagnosed with COPD 5 years ago and was taking Spiriva and Advair plus nose sprays to slow down progression. My symptoms have always been shortness of breath, and dizziness. I am a 54 year old male. the Spiriva wasn’t really working and I could not tolerate them for long due to severe side effects, so this year our family doctor started me on Natural Herbal Gardens COPD Herbal mixture, We ordered their COPD herbal treatment after reading alot of positive reviews, i am happy to report with the help of Natural Herbal Garden natural herbs I have been able to reverse my symptoms using herbs, my symptoms totally declined over a 9 weeks use of the Natural Herbal Gardens COPD natural herbal formula. My COPD is totally reversed! Their official web page is www . naturalherbalgardens . com After the herbal treatment I also finally was able to give up smoking after 20 years. I ‘m thankful to nature


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