What health problems can sleep apnea lead to?
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to an increased risk of serious health problems including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure, heart attacks and irregular heartbeat
- Worsening of ACHD
What area side effects of sleep apnea?
Side effects of untreated sleep apnea may be poor performance in everyday activities such as school and work as well as motor vehicle accidents. This is largely due to the inability of the body to have deep restful sleep that is required for normal function as well as deprivation of oxygen to the brain and the body.
How do you treat sleep apnea?
In mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea there are a number of behavioral and lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Lose Weight – this helps to open up the throat and the breathing airways
Quit Smoking – smoking contributes to sleep apnea by increasing inflammation and fluid retention in the throat and upper airway.
Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills and sedatives – these all act to relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing. It is especially important to avoid these things before bedtime.
Avoid caffeine and heavy meals within two hours of going to sleep.
Avoid sleeping on your back. Instead sleep on your side or stomach. Sleeping on your back, due to the effects of gravity, allows your tongue and soft tissues to drop or move back obstructing the airway. Open your nasal passages at night by using nasal dilators, breathing strips or saline spray.
If the above methods do not work, or your apnea is more advanced, it may be necessary to seek further medical care.