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The Dangers of Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Throughout numerous medical studies, Sleep Apnea and Snoring have been identified as serious health risks in Hypertension, Obesity, Heart Failure and Diabetes.
Obesity is not only the leading cause of Sleep Apnea, but the effects of Sleep Apnea can lead to further weight gain.
83% of individuals with Hypertension also have Sleep Apnea and there is a direct relationship between the severity of Sleep Apnea and the severity of hypertension.
Sleep Apnea plays a critical role is decreasing heart functions, while CPAP significantly improves pumping efficiency, blood pressure, cardiac and stroke incidents, and quality of life.
Treating Sleep Apnea with CPAP has shown to reduce blood sugar levels in Diabetics by 30%.
Everyone knows someone who snores, whether they reside in the same household, sleep in the same bed, or maybe the snorer is you. Until recently snoring was just an annoying, sometimes funny condition. Movies have often portrayed snoring in a comedic sense, with characters playing pranks on snorers.
Home Sleep Testing
However, now may be a good time to stop laughing and have a serious talk about snoring and its more serious form, sleep apnea. Snoring happens when someone’s airway relaxes and narrows, causing it to vibrate as air passes through. Sleep Apnea occurs when that airway completely closes, the individual quits breathing, which means his or her body is no longer getting oxygen, and they often respond by gasping for air and waking throughout the night. Due to decreased oxygen and frequent awakening, Sleep Apnea has been found to decrease the sufferer’s quality of life and complicate disorders such as; Hypertension, Heart Failure and Diabetes.
The reason Sleep Apnea is associated with these serious disorders is its relationship with obesity. A recent study by Columbia University shows that individuals suffering from Sleep Apnea are more likely to be obese than those who regularly get seven or more hours of quality sleep. This is not new information, considering that obesity is the leading cause of Sleep Apnea. However, the study also suggests that Sleep Apnea may be contributing to obesity and preventing weight loss. This is due to two factors: sleep deprivation throws off metabolism and appetite hormones, making you feel hungrier yet unable to burn calories as quickly, all while sleep deprivation results in decreased energy levels. This limits your exercise and other activities that would otherwise lead to weight loss. When these factors are coupled, it is easy to see why weight loss attempts may be in vain. Treating your Sleep Apnea could be the first step to losing weight and achieving a healthier lifestyle.
Hypertension is another serious disorder that is common among Americans and is often complicated by Sleep Apnea. An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that 83% of Hypertension patients have Sleep Apnea and there is a direct relationship showing that as the severity of Sleep Apnea increases, the severity of hypertension increases proportionately. This evidence suggests that anyone currently diagnosed or being treated for Hypertension, needs to be tested for Sleep Apnea. This fact was made more apparent when the effects of Sleep Apnea treatment, a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP), were shown to reduce blood pressure by 30% while reducing dependency on anti-hypertensive medications significantly. Additional surprising results that support these findings lie in a study conducted by the Yale Center for Sleep Medicine. This trial showed that a pool of patients with mild to severe Sleep Apnea resulted in 22 strokes and 50 deaths over a three year period, yet in a non-apneic group of patients there were only two strokes and 14 deaths over the same period.
Heart Disease follows a similar trend of hypertension and its relationship to Sleep Apnea. The American Journal of Respiratory Care showed that 50-60% of those with heart problems suffer from Sleep Apnea. Reduced oxygen levels that result from Sleep Apnea play a critical role in decreasing the performance of cardiac functions. Heart patients receiving treatment for sleep apnea with a CPAP machine, saw significant improvements in pumping efficiency, blood pressure, cardiac and stroke incidents, and quality of life.
Diabetes was only recently linked to Sleep Apnea, however this link is not surprising since Diabetes is also linked to obesity. Researchers found that treating Sleep Apnea with CPAP not only helped people sleep better, but it also improved their blood sugar (glucose) levels, which can reduce the risk of complications from Diabetes, such as heart and kidney disease. Previous studies have shown that Diabetes and Sleep Apnea are closely related, as Sleep Apnea sufferers are nine times more likely to have Diabetes than those who do not have the sleeping disorder. In a study that appeared in the Feb. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers evaluated the effects of CPAP on blood sugar levels in a group of 25 people with type 2 Diabetes. Each of the patients received the treatment for at least four hours a night during a three month period. The results showed that the Sleep Apnea treatment prompted a 30% reduction in blood sugar levels. Researchers say that in light of the high prevalence of Sleep Apnea and Obesity in people with Diabetes, these results suggest that the treatment of Sleep Apnea can have important health benefits. Furthermore, the findings showed CPAP may improve blood sugar levels by lowering insulin resistance, as restless sleep causes an increase in hormones that work against insulin. Thus, improving sleep with CPAP, may improve hormone levels and Diabetes. Researchers concluded by saying, anyone with Diabetes who has symptoms of Sleep Apnea, such as excessive daytime sleepiness and loud, persistent snoring, should be evaluated for Sleep Apnea and seek treatment for the sleeping disorder.
Sleep Apnea and snoring are problems you do not want to ignore. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes or heart disease, and are sleepy or has a history of snoring consider home testing and setting an appointment to talk to your physician. If you have sleep apnea taking sleeping pills can worsen your condition.
EverSleep gives you the power to collect and track sleep data from the comfort of your own home. If personalized data allows you to rule out breathing interruptions you can focus on coaching tips, but if EverSleep Reports show significant apnea events you may confirm that a sleep study and medical treatment are required.