The Long-Term Effects of Sleep Apnea

You may not know that you have sleep apnea, but you can certainly spot the effects — patients often seek treatment only after a significant other has informed them that they were snoring or gasping for breath in the middle of the night. And while snoring may seem like an innocent side effect, those with sleep apnea can experience serious medical complications if they refuse to seek treatment. 

Below, we discuss the long-term effects of sleep apnea, effects that can come back to haunt sufferers years after they first started experiencing symptoms. If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, avoid these long-term effects by scheduling a consultation with Ravikanth Vydyula, M.D., a pulmonary doctor in Tampa

As Days Turn to Years 

Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts, most commonly as a result of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the throat muscles relax while we sleep. This can occur as much as 30 or more times in an hour. While the short-term symptoms are certainly concerning — snoring, headaches, fatigue — what’s really concerning are the long-term effects. 

To begin, sleep apnea can take an incredible toll on a person’s mood and personality. Days of fatigue and irritability eventually give way to feelings of helplessness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that “recent research has indicated that depressive symptoms may decrease once sleep apnea has been effectively treated and sufficient sleep restored.” If your mood has steadily declined, sleep apnea may be the culprit. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning when it comes to the long-term effects of sleep apnea. 

The Physical Toll 

It goes without saying that our bodies need oxygen to function. As sleep apnea inhibits a person’s breathing, their bodies can undergo a steady and harmful transformation. As a result of limited oxygen, symptoms of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can worsen — two conditions also treated by Dr. Vydyula, the top pulmonologist in Tampa. Sleep apnea can also lead to: 

  • Erectile dysfunction 
  • Liver problems 
  • Metabolic changes linked to obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes 

Most concerning of all is sleep apnea’s connection to cardiovascular disease. The CDC reports that  “hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease and irregular heartbeats (cardiac arrhythmias) have been found to be more common among those with disordered sleep than their peers without sleep abnormalities.” Not only does sleep apnea increase your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, but it may also increase your risk of a recurrent heart attack and stroke. In order to safeguard your health, you’ll need to consult a pulmonologist in Tampa who can diagnose and treat your condition. 

Stop Sleep Apnea in Its Tracks 

Throughout this article, we’ve touched upon the mental and physical toll that sleep apnea can have on a person; however, we’ve yet to discuss the toll that sleep apnea can have on a relationship. As mentioned above, sleep apnea is most often noticed by a loved one. It’s this loved one who will have to endure loud snoring while having to watch your health decline as sleep apnea takes its toll. Unfortunately, one of the most damaging long-term effects of sleep apnea is the impact it can have on a person’s relationships. To ensure that your mental, physical, and interpersonal health are put first, schedule an appointment to have your condition diagnosed and treated by Dr. Vydyula, the best pulmonary doctor in Tampa

To schedule a consultation with Ravikanth Vydyula, M.D., a pulmonologist in Tampa, please request an appointment today.

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