Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Eight Reasons to Treat Sleep Apnea

Many people get tested for sleep apnea because their spouse complains about their loud snoring. While snoring can be aggravating, there are several less obvious reasons to get screened and treated for this serious medical condition.

SleepEducation.com has a useful list of reasons to keep in mind. They are:

1. High blood pressure
OSA can cause high blood pressure, or hypertension. More severe OSA produces greater increases in blood pressure. Even children with OSA can experience rises in blood pressure.

2. Heart disease
OSA increases your risk for an irregular heartbeat, coronary artery disease, heart attack and congestive heart failure. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.

3. Stroke
OSA increases your risk for stroke, a leading cause of death in the U.S. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted because of a blood clot that blocks an artery or a broken blood vessel.

4. Brain damage
Damage from OSA affects brain structures that help control functions such as memory, mood and blood pressure.

5. Depression
Research shows that depression is common in people suffering from all levels of OSA.

6. Diabetes
Research suggests that OSA can contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes, a leading cause of death in the U.S., which occurs when the body fails to use insulin effectively.

7. Obesity
Obesity is a key risk factor for OSA. Some studies show that OSA may also promote weight gain. OSA can fragment sleep, reducing daytime energy and physical activity. It also can disrupt metabolism.

8. Mortality
Several studies show that people with sleep apnea have a higher risk of death than people without sleep apnea, especially if left untreated. The risk is greater for people whose sleep apnea is more severe.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.