Obstructive Sleep Apnea Raises Risk For Chronic Illness

Posted on: 17 December 2019

If you have sleep apnea, then you may stop breathing multiple times while you are sleeping. It is important that you seek obstructive sleep apnea treatment because it can raise the risk of a number of chronic illnesses. Sleep apnea can also cause excessive daytime sleepiness, which may heighten your risk for a car accident. Here are some medical problems that may be linked to obstructive sleep apnea. 


If you have sleep apnea, you may be more likely to develop hypertension, or high blood pressure, than someone who doesn't have it. Sleep apnea makes your cardiovascular system work harder, and not only does it raise your risk for high blood pressure, but it may also put you at risk for a cardiac arrhythmia. Untreated sleep apnea is also associated with heart failure, fluid around your heart, and strokes.

If you wake up choking or gasping for air at night or if someone in your household tells you that you snore loudly, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she may refer you to a sleep specialist who will order a sleep study. Once the results of the study are in, the sleep doctor will make a recommendation. He or she may suggest lifestyle changes such as weight loss or treatment with a CPAP machine. Also known as a continuous positive airway pressure machine, a CPAP machine helps facilitate an effective breathing pattern when you sleep.


Obstructive sleep apnea also places you at risk for diabetes. Not only can it increase your blood glucose levels, but it can also make your diabetic condition more difficult to manage. If you already have diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea treatment may reduce your risk for diabetes-related complications such as renal failure, ketoacidosis, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.

The reason sleep apnea is linked to the development of diabetes is because it can affect your metabolism in ways that may cause insulin resistance. In addition to sleep apnea treatment, your doctor will recommend that you eat healthy foods, limit your alcohol consumption, get regular exercise, and maintain a healthy weight. These interventions will improve your apnea symptoms, while lowering your blood glucose levels.

If you believe you may have obstructive sleep apnea, see your family physician or ENT specialist as soon as possible. When apnea is recognized and treated early on, you will be less likely to experience complications such as daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.