If you read this blog regularly, this isn’t the first time you’re hearing about the deadly risks associated with sleep apnea. We’ve talked at length about its ties to heart disease, how it increases your risk of a fatal car accident, and even how it can accelerate tumor growth. The basis for most of the sleep apnea-related risks is hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure. Sleep apnea causes high blood pressure, so it shares all the same associated health issues.
But they say a picture is a worth a thousand words, so today we’re tackling the same subject with the aid of an infographic to drive home the point. If you felt lost in all the information about sleep apnea, hopefully this infographic and breakdown will help simplify the message.
Sleep Apnea Puts Your Lifestyle at Risk…
What kinds of things do you enjoy doing in your day-to-day life? Reading, hiking, playing with your kids? Do you enjoy photography, mountain biking, cooking? Think about how all of those things would be affected if you lost your vision.
If you have sleep apnea, that future could be more than just a horrifying hypothetical. High blood pressure can lead to retinopathy (a disease of the retina) or glaucoma (increased pressure within the eye), both of which can lead to partial or complete loss of vision. And you can kiss those hikes and bike rides goodbye if you suffer the loss of bone density that often accompanies hypertension as a result of increased calcium elimination.
And what about your mental health? If you suffer from hypertension as a result of sleep apnea, you may be prescribed medication for it — many of which result in mood disorders like depression or anxiety. That’s not to mention the way your sex life could suffer. High blood pressure has been known to result in lowered libido and even erectile dysfunction.
…But It Also Puts Your Life At Risk
Unfortunately, those risks are just the tip of the iceberg. The true dangers of sleep apnea are much more deadly.
First, high blood pressure vastly increases your risk of stroke. Hypertension puts stress on your blood vessels, increasing the risk that they will burst or clog. That same stress can also impact your heart, increasing risk of angina and even heart failure. Of course, your kidneys spend their time filtering your blood, which means increased blood pressure will also put stress on them. This could mean kidney disease, and ultimately, kidney failure.
These are a trio of diseases you don’t want to put yourself at risk of, considering how many deaths they contribute to across the United States every single year. In order, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease are the first, fifth, and ninth most common causes of death.
But there’s good news: Treatment for sleep apnea can reverse hypertension and bring those risk levels down. If you think you might have sleep apnea, a sleep dentist can help. Call (619) 299-5925 or contact us online to make an appointment with Dr. Strober right here in San Diego.