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Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by one or more pauses in breathing while asleep. Below are 3 ways in which untreated sleep apnea may negatively affect a person’s health:

1. Increase Risk of Developing Diabetes

Image - Testing for DiabetesA study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine suggested that people with severe sleep apnea had a 30 percent higher risk of developing diabetes. The study also found that people suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnea had a 23 percent increased risk of developing diabetes.

This result makes sense because sleep apnea usually causes less oxygen reaching the cells in the body, less sleep, and an increased heart rate, all of which are associated with the development of diabetes.

The study included more than 8,600 people suffering from this sleep disorder. However, the study had the notable limitation that the possible family history of diabetes of each participant was not taken into account.

2. Increase Risk of Osteoporosis

Image - OsteoporosisA study  published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism compared the medical records of 1,400 people diagnosed with sleep apnea to those of over 20,600 people who did not suffer from sleep apnea. The study suggested that people with sleep apnea are at higher risk to develop the bone-thinning disease: osteoporosis.

The study showed that the participants who suffered from sleep apnea were 2.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with osteoporosis. The risk of osteoporosis increased if the participants were female or elderly.

Sleep apnea is linked with osteoporosis because the sleep disorder deprives the body of oxygen, which can weaken the bones.

3. Increase Risk of Cardiac Death

A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggested that people who suffer from sleep apnea are at a higher risk of sudden cardiac death.

Sudden cardiac death happens when a person’s heart suddenly stops beating.

The study followed more than 7,000 men and women over 50 years old who had been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Over the following 15 years, 142 of those participants had sudden cardiac arrest.

The study helped identify three measures that strongly predicted the risk of sudden cardiac death:

  1. Being over 60 years old
  2. Having 20 sleep apnea episodes an hour
  3. Having low blood levels of oxygen

Obesity and heart disease are also risk factors for cardiac death.

Dr. Pasha is a board certified specialist and can help you figure out if you suffer from sleep apnea. He is also experienced in treating sleep apnea in various different ways, always keeping in mind what is best for his patients. Some of his treatments for sleep apnea include: breathing machines, surgery, in-office procedures, and dental or oral appliances. Make an appointment with Dr. Pasha today!