The Hidden Health Dangers of Unmanaged Sleep Apnea

Guest Post by Michael G. Nathans, CEO and Co-Founder at WhisperSom Corporation

Researchers have found that diabetes and ADHD in children as well as heart attacks, strokes, and Alzheimer’s Disease in adults are linked to unmanaged sleep apnea.

Why? Because regular breathing while asleep is as important as having a regular heartbeat—and sleep apnea disrupts a person’s breathing. Sleep apnea is a serious health condition involving repeated episodes of partial or complete blockage of the upper airway during sleep (obstructive apnea), and/or a temporary lack of respiratory drive and diaphragm movement (central apnea).

When a person stops breathing, the result is a sensation of suffocation and anxiety within about 10 – 15 seconds. This quickly escalates to panic by around 20 seconds, producing a spike in heart rate and blood pressure, the release of epinephrine (which is Adrenaline® in the commercial form), and the production of glucose in preparation for fighting or fleeing. Instead of an actual fight or flight, a mild awakening lasting more than three (3) seconds often occurs, which restores breathing but fragments sleep.

Similar to smoking cigarettes, researchers have determined that the dangers of repeated exposure to reduced inhaled air from apneas and the associated physiological stress of self-recoveries are cumulative.

Some of the ways that sleep apnea negatively impacts health include:

  • Diabetes: Unmanaged sleep apnea has been linked to developing or worsening Type 2 Diabetes in children.
  • ADHD: Research discovered that sleep apnea affects up to one-third of patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Repeated attempts to inhale against a closed airway fragment sleep resulting in daytime sleepiness, hypertension, and impulsive behavior, symptoms that are associated with ADHD.
  • Cognitive Impairment: Reduced attention span, difficulty concentrating, and memory loss from fragmented sleep impact a person’s ability to learn, reason, and function fully in their daily life, especially following a concussion.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: High blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, and heart attacks are linked to unmanaged sleep apnea. Research has discovered that repeated spikes in heart rate caused by sleep apnea weaken heart structures over time.
  • Decreased quality of life: Sleep apnea can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, causing fatigue, irritability, mood swings, life-threatening diseases, and premature death.

These are just some of the medical issues that can occur. That’s why it is imperative we diagnose and treat sleep apnea early, so we can reduce all of the other diseases linked to it.

About the Author – Michael Nathans is the CEO and Co-Founder of WhisperSom Corporation, a medical device and informatics company. He holds a degree in biology from Franklin & Marshall College and has a 35-year business and corporate governance background. Follow WhisperSom on Facebook for more information about sleep apnea.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not represent the views and opinions of RedCrow or its affiliates. The blog does not imply a recommendation or endorsement by Redcrow. RedCrow does not verify or establish the truth of the information obtained in the blog. These materials may not be relied upon for making any investment decision. Nothing in the blog is to be construed as a securities offering.

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