Diabetes- If you have Diabetes you are 50% more likely to have Sleep Apnea or OSA Obstructive Sleep Apnea. A 2014 study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. When you have sleep apnea your tongue and tissues closes off your airway. This apneic event can last for few seconds up to minutes where your body is being deprived of oxygen known as hypoxia. When your body experiences the lack of oxygen the brain releases chemicals messages to the lungs and diaphragm to breathe. When the blockage remains in place the brain due to stress releases sugars in the fight or flight response to stress. Over time this constant system correction leads to elevated blood sugar levels and impaired insulin sensitivity. When left untreated unchecked insulin sensitivity leads to protracted insulin resistance, which then leads to glucose intolerance, and diabetes results. Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine shows that for nondiabetics, 1 in 3 patients with severe OSA will also develop diabetes.
Heart Disease- People with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to suffer heart attacks and die in the middle of the night. The cause may be low oxygen or the stress of waking up often during sleep. Stroke and atrial fibrillation- a problem with the rhythm of the heartbeat—are also associated with obstructive sleep apnea. The disrupted oxygen flow caused by sleep apnea makes it hard to your brain to regulate the flow of blood in arteries and to the brain itself.
High Blood Pressure-Obstructive sleep apnea can contribute to high blood pressure in people who have it. The frequent awakenings that plague people with sleep apnea cause hormonal system to go into overdrive, which results in high blood pressure levels at night. Low blood-oxygen levels, caused by the cutoff oxygen, may also contribute to hypertension in people with sleep apnea. The good news: Some people with high blood pressure who are treated for sleep apnea can cut back on their blood pressure medications.
Strokes-Sleep apnea can be an after effect of stroke, but can also be the cause of a first time or recurrent stroke. The condition causes low oxygen levels and high blood pressure, both of which can increase the risk of a future stroke.
Alzheimer's-Sleep is the time for the brain to clean up all the plaque. If sleep is disturbed, the brain might not get the job done, leaving an accumulation of the proteins that block up nerve cells.
Weight Gain-Being overweight causes fatty deposits in the neck that block breathing at night. In turn, sleep apnea impairs the body’s endocrine systems, causing the release of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you crave carbohydrates and sweets. Also, people with sleep apnea who are tired and sleepy all the time may have lower metabolisms, which can also contribute to weight gain. Getting treatment for sleep apnea can make you feel better, with more energy for exercise and other activities.
Car Accidents-Daytime grogginess can put people with sleep apnea at increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. People with sleep apnea are up to 5x’s more likely than normal sleepers to have traffic accidents.
Cancer- It is believed that OSA help to promote the growth of cancers. Animal studies have suggested that oxygen deprivation fosters cancer progression. When mice with malignant tumors are put in low-oxygen environments that simulate sleep apnea effects, their cancers grow more quickly. There’s also the possibility that depriving mice of oxygen triggers the development of more blood vessels (to compensate for the lack of oxygen delivered to tissues) and that this may spur tumor growth.
“Unfortunately, sleep apnea doesn't hurt like chest pain. It doesn't bring up a specific complaint. The patient may be a little sleepy or confused. People often fail to make the correlation that the daytime sleepiness may be related to disrupted sleep at night", said Dr. Alon Avidan, a professor of neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center.