The first question people tend to ask when they are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is how dangerous it can be to their health, both in the short and long term. Sleep apnea is more than a nuisance in your life. Left untreated, it can leave you feeling exhausted during the day and can even disrupt your partner’s sleep throughout the night, but it also has many negative health effects according to most studies.

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Without treatment, OSA can lead to a whole host of short and long-term effects. Studies have shown that sudden death can increase twofold when a person suffers from sleep apnea. This is because people with untreated OSA are more prone to cardiac arrest. OSA causes a person to stop breathing, which can hundreds of times per night, meaning the body never actually gets the restorative rest it needs to remain healthy.
If OSA goes untreated, it can reduce oxygen saturation during apneic events (pauses in breathing) and can cause your levels to dip below 78 percent (you should be close to 100 percent throughout the entire night). When this happens, a person can experience cardiac arrest, which can lead to death.

The Long-Term Dangers of Sleep Apnea

OSA also comes with a host of medical problems that can manifest over time. According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep apnea has been known to cause many conditions when left untreated:

  • Daytime fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Complications with medications and after surgery
  • Liver problems

You may also experience symptoms that can include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Hypersomnia (daytime sleepiness)
  • Difficulty paying attention and performing at work
  • Irritability
  • Reduced libido

Because loud snoring is generally a key trait of untreated sleep apnea, you may also keep your partner awake throughout the night, disturbing their ability to get a healthy night of restorative sleep as well.

How to Get Treated

Getting treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is very easy. All you need to do is take a sleep apnea test to determine if you are positive for obstructive sleep apnea. If so, you will be delivered a prescription for a CPAP machine. Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) therapy provides gentle, pressurized airflow to keep your airway open so that you keep breathing while you sleep. CPAP therapy helps you to get the healthy, restorative sleep you need. Sleep apnea therapy has a high success rate when used consistently, and many people find that they don’t want to sleep without it once they’ve become accustomed to using it.

If you believe that you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, don’t wait. Your sleep is vital to your health. Contact us for a free sleep apnea test that you can take right from the comfort of your own home.