Sleep & Health
CAN SLEEP APNEA KILL YOU?
Sleep Apnea! It's not good...The name sounds like a serious disease and after you let the words sink in your head a few times; it reads with dangerous intent...The kind of illness that you read in health magazines trying to promote supplement solutions and trick you into buying ridiculous non-proven solutions. Only it actually is a potentially harmful sleep disorder. You ever had a family relative sleep at your place only to discover that their snoring could probably break walls in your home or perhaps all of a sudden among the thunderous sounds you notice that they have stopped breathing temporarily. What you recall from those memories could possibly be 'Sleep Apnea.'
- What is sleep apnea?
- Sleep apnea: an unseen killer?
- Can sleep apnea kill you?
what is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop and start breathing repeatedly while you’re asleep. It’s similar to playing “red light, green light” while exhaling. However, it’s your own body betraying you rather than something you're consciously doing whilst asleep. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most prevalent type of sleep apnea. When the muscles at the back of your throat relax excessively, an obstruction results. It seems like your throat is intermittently flashing a 'Closed for Breathing' sign throughout the night. Another condition called "Central Sleep Apnea" occurs when your brain fails to properly communicate with the breathing muscles. Consider the resulting communication failure in this case. It’s as if your brain didn’t remember to tell your muscles to take a breath. What a horrible case of miscoordination!
sleep apnea: an unseen killer?
Understand that snoring is not just a sound but a symptom of a serious health condition. Approximately 20% of the population suffers from sleep apnea, it’s a high-incidence disease. Numerous conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, hypothyroidism, acromegaly, and polycystic ovarian syndrome, can lead to sleep apnea. You can still be one of the members of the sleep apnea club if you don’t have any of these symptoms thanks to your narrow throat or higher resistance.
It's just snoring right? Sorry, let me stop you there, it’s a big deal.
Sleep apnea operates covertly in the dead of night like a cunning ninja. It’s an invisible murderer that has the capacity to transform your pleasant dreams into an endless nightmare. The problem with sleep apnea is that it's often undiagnosed. Many people don’t even realize they have it until their partner (who’s probably sleep-deprived and cranky) points out their snoring or gasping for air during sleep.
Your body is in a tug-of-war state from breathing to not breathing while you’re dreaming about unicorns and rainbows. Additionally, intermittent suffocation during sleep means your body is often oxygen-deprived. Oxygen is crucial unless you’re a plant that can photosynthesize. How can your cells operate if you don't even have oxygen?
can sleep apnea kill you?
Potentially, yes. But let me be clear before you start to worry. While sleep apnea may not necessarily be the death knell, it can pave the way for other serious illnesses. There are many different health issues that might arise when your body doesn’t get enough oxygen. Similar to a domino effect, but with rising health hazards rather than actual small tiles falling. You see, a lack of oxygen to your body strains your heart and blood vessels. High blood pressure, heart disease, and even stroke can result from this. And what's this? Not exactly the kind of circumstances you want to experience. Sleep apnea is thereby sharpening the scythe even though it may not be the one holding it.