How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Body?

bearded man in blue shirt sitting up in bed

How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Body?

You may already be familiar with the effect of sleeplessness on your brain, diminishing the cognitive functions responsible for decision-making, emotional processing, and the speed of reaction times. Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea can not only cause a lack of sleep: It can also put you at risk for uncomfortable and even hazardous medical issues.

If you’re now wondering, “How does sleep apnea affect your body?”, we can help provide some answers. Learn more about what our sleep apnea experts have to say.

Various Health Conditions Linked to Sleep Apnea

Although obesity and high blood pressure are two medical conditions commonly linked to sleep apnea, many regions of the body suffer without proper diagnosis and treatment. Some of the other conditions connected to sleep apnea include:

  • Blood Sugar Disorders 
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Cardiovascular Disease

If you’re experiencing any of these conditions or symptoms, you may also be suffering from sleep apnea. If you’ve also been told that you snore or hold your breath when you’re sleeping, we highly recommend seeing a sleep specialist and engaging in a sleep study for further diagnosis and treatment.

How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Body?

The ways each body system responds to a lack of oxygen and rest.

Digestive System

Sleep apnea can cause irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, and reflux issues, further affecting your sleep schedule and creating a vicious cycle of discomfort. It can also make you more likely to develop unhealthy levels of liver enzymes.

Nervous System

A type of sleep apnea called central sleep apnea happens when the brain’s signals for an individual to breathe are disrupted. It can also cause tingling and numbness in some individuals.

Endocrine System

Insulin resistance is more likely to develop in those who have sleep apnea. This can end up causing type II diabetes or a combination of pre-diabetic symptoms. Metabolic syndrome has also been linked to sleep apnea.

Circulatory/Cardiovascular Systems

According to The National Commission on Sleep Disorders, sleep apnea is probably responsible for 38,000 cardiovascular deaths each year.

Apneic episodes can cause strain on your heart, cardiac disease, and even heart failure. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you are more likely to have an abnormal heart rhythm.

Respiratory System 

Since our body’s system of respiration runs on oxygen, it’s no wonder how sleep apnea’s obstruction of proper oxygen flow in the body can inhibit your ability to breathe, even after you wake up. This means that sleep apnea can make exercise difficult and exacerbate the symptoms of conditions like COPD and asthma.

A Message From Dr. Amy Hartsfield:

At TMJ & Sleep Solutions of Alabama, our mission is to provide personalized care to restore quality of life, one patient at a time. If you are experiencing issues with sleep, don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule an appointment!