Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder, which alters your breathing when you’re sleeping. It can cause serious complications both in adults and children.
- Complications of sleep apnea: Sleep apnea (OSA) may increase the risk of many medical conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension), heart failure, heart rhythm disturbances, atherosclerotic heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, insulin resistance and even death.
- High blood pressure: If you have sleep apnea, it can cause high blood pressure and heart problems if it is not treated. Repeated reduction or pause in breathing (airflow) when the person sleeps can cause increased stress on the heart. This can cause high blood pressure and heart problems. According to research, 45% of patients with obstructive sleep apnea, who do not have high blood pressure, will develop high blood pressure within four years. Studies also show that many people with hard-to-control blood pressure have obstructive sleep apnea. With appropriate treatment of sleep apnea, blood pressure decreases.
- Heart complications: Untreated obstructive sleep apnea causes most serious complications in the heart. In severe and prolonged cases, it can lead to congestive heart failure (''cor pulmonale''). Studies have shown that sleep apnea increases the risk for congestive heart failure by 2.3 times and the risk of stroke by 1.5 times.
- Sudden death: Untreated sleep apnea can cause sudden death. Life threatening complications can occur due to excessive daytime sleepiness, which can cause the person to fall asleep at inappropriate times such as while driving.
Prognosis of Sleep Apnea
Medicines cannot cure sleep apnea, but recent studies on approaches to managing sleep apnea show that successful treatment can improve the prognosis. Treatment can reduce the risk of heart and blood pressure problems and other complications of sleep apnea. Furthermore, following your recommended treatment plan will make you sleep and feel better.
Read more articles on Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Prognosis