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Sleep Apnea Health Risks

When you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, snoring or UARS, your sleep is frequently interrupted for brief periods, so your airway can open and you can resume normal breathing. These intervals are typically so brief that people don’t recall being awake, but they definitely feel the effects of these frequent interruptions. The next day, they may feel sleepy and fatigued, their job performance may suffer, and they may be at increased risk of falling asleep while driving.

Over the long term, a sleep disorder can become a serious threat to your health. Snoring, for example can evolve into obstructive sleep apnea, which can put stress on your cardiovascular system that can result in premature disability and death. Researchers have found that carotid artery atherosclerosis (plaque build-up), the leading cause of heart attack and stroke, is exacerbated by obstructive sleep apnea. New studies have shown that it’s also associated with an increased incidence of glaucoma. Moreover, patients with depression who have mild or moderate levels of obstructive sleep apnea have a much higher risk of erectile dysfunction.

Female and younger obstructive sleep apnea patients are at higher risk than older and male patients. Because of the increased risk of hypertension, heart attack, arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), and other associated heart failures attributed to sleep apnea or poor sleep quality, untreated obstructive sleep apnea reduce can reduce life expectancy by several years.

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

Obstructive sleep apnea puts you at risk for:

  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Reduced life expectancy