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Eskender Beyene, MD, FCCP
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: What are the long-term effects?
SLEEP! Testing & Treatment
. https://www.yoursleepspecialist.com/

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: What are the long-term effects?

Over 100 million people suffer from sleep apnea, worldwide.  Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most prevalent disorders. Not only does it affect one’s sleep but it also causes other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity, irritability, short-term memory loss, and depression, among many other symptoms.

OSA sufferers experience a hinder of breathing dozens, if not hundreds, of times per night. Each time they stop breathing, their blood pressure spikes as their brain tells the heart to pump faster and harder because the brain is registering a lack of oxygenated blood. The heart pumps faster, but there is still little or no oxygen getting to the brain and vital organs.

Ultimately the brain sends an arousal signal to the body. This causes the sufferer to temporarily awaken. At this point the sufferer will gasp for air and repositions themselves to breathe. This usually only lasts for a moment or two. As they drift back to sleep their muscles relax and their jaw and tongue once again fall back into their pharyngeal canal or airway causing a blockage.

These conditions are very dangerous for OSA sufferers. This continued process of lack of oxygen, spiking blood pressure, and lack of deep and restful sleep over and over again throughout the night and, consequently, over years is extremely unhealthy for the body. Long-term sufferers can expect to shave 10-15 years off of their life expectancy if their OSA is not treated.

If you suffer from or believe you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea it is imperative that you get the right treatment. Contact a sleep specialist to discuss your individualized options.

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