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What are the effects of sleep apnea?

photo of car accident victim being loaded onto stretcher Sleep apnea can cause serious accidents since you're more likely to fall asleep at the wrong time.

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that's characterized by breathing that stops and starts repeatedly.

The disorder doesn't just make you tired from lack of sleep, though. It's also a risk factor for serious medical conditions and accidents. Some of the complications can include:

  • Being tired during the day. Repeatedly waking up makes normal, restorative sleep impossible, which increases the likelihood of severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue and irritability.
  • Difficulty concentrating. Being tired naturally makes it harder for your brain to concentrate.
  • Increased risk of serious accidents. People with sleep apnea have an increased risk of motor vehicle and workplace accidents because of the increased risk of falling asleep at work or while driving.
  • High blood pressure or heart problems. Blood oxygen levels drop suddenly when you stop breathing, which increases blood pressure and strains the cardiovascular system. You may have higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, or abnormal heartbeats.
  • Type 2 diabetes. Your risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes is increased.
  • Complications with medications and surgery. You're more likely to have complications after major surgery since you're prone to breathing problems, especially when sedated and lying on their backs.
  • Liver disease. You're more likely to have abnormal results on liver function tests, and your liver is more likely to show signs of scarring (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease).
  • Sleep-deprived partners. Loud snoring can keep anyone who sleeps near you from getting good rest. It's common for a partner to have to go to another room to be able to sleep. When your partner can't get good sleep, it also increases their risk for accidents and certain health issues.

So you see that not sleeping well doesn't just cause you to be tired. It can cause serious medical complications for both you and your partner, or cause serious accidents that can hurt or kill other innocent people. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, please talk with your doctor. Your overall health - and the health of others - depends on it!

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Commonwealth Home Health Care, Inc.

479 Piney Forest Rd.
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(434) 797-2332

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2200 Beechmont Road
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(434) 404-4102

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