Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Common Health Effects of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea refers to a critical, potentially life-threatening sleeping disorder that is far common than typically considered. Early diagnosis and understanding of sleep apnea is essential since the health effects of sleep apnea can be severe and it may lead to the development of irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke. In this article, we will discuss the short term and long term health effects of sleep apnea.

Short Term Effects

Sleep apnea can be associated with choking sensations. The recurrent disruptions of deep, recuperative sleep often cause short term health effects of sleep apnea like early morning headaches and an extreme daytime drowsiness. The involuntary and functional complications in the airway may lead to disruptions, known as apneic events, in breathing pattern at the time of sleeping.

For some individuals, apnea occurs as a result of partial blocking of airway when the throat muscles and tongue loosen up during sleep. Sleep apnea may also occur in obese individuals when an additional amount of the tissue obstructs the airway and turns it to be constricted. Since the individual tries his best to breathe, it makes the sound of snoring, which is one of the most common short term health effects of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea can occur to any one, irrespective of age, gender, race or cultural differences. Most commonly, few short term health effects of sleep apnea are observed among people with sleep apnea. These may include loud snoring, overweight, high blood pressure, structural abnormality in nose, throat or the parts associated with airway. However, the causal relationship has not been established in every shot.

Long Term Effects

Since individuals with sleep apnea experience an extreme disturbance in their sleep at night, they feel excessively sleepy throughout the day. The inadequate sleep influences the individuals adversely and quite a greater extent with an increasing stress level, emotional disturbance, mood disorder and many more.

The long term health effects of sleep apnea may not be limited to an annoying event in life; rather it could be indeed disabling and eventually fatal. Ranging from depression, irritability, sexual dysfunction, learning and memory impairment, feeling of drowsiness all the time, it may lead to even more serious health issues like heart attack or high blood pressure.

Although, scientists have not yet confirmed the validity and reliability concerning the causal relationship between sleep apnea and high blood pressure, research findings suggest there is a strong correlation between these two variables. They also affirmed that the risk for heart attack and stroke are also heightened if sleep apnea is left untreated.

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