Health Risks Associated with Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a much more common problem than you may realize. The World Health Organization estimates that 100 million people around the world suffer from this dangerous condition. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, 25% of men and 11% of women in the United States have sleep apnea. All told, this condition affects about 22 million Americans and unfortunately, many of these cases go undiagnosed.

Sleep apnea is marked by repeated interruptions in breathing throughout the night that occur due to a blockage in your airway. As a result, your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, and it rouses you from sleep to restart normal breathing. If left untreated, the cycle of breathing stoppages caused by sleep apnea can result in serious health risks.

It is common for people suffering from sleep apnea to experience an increased risk of:

  • Stroke (90% of stroke patients also suffer from sleep apnea)
  • Heart failure (Sleep apnea patients are 4 times more likely to suffer a heart attack)
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiac rhythm issues
  • Gastroesphageal reflux disease
  • Neurocognitive problems
  • Depression

In addition, sleep apnea often results in daytime sleepiness, which significantly increases your risk of getting into a car accident. Drivers are 7 times more likely to get into an accident due to falling asleep at the wheel when they have sleep apnea, and approximately 100,000 car accidents a year are attributed to fatigue associated with sleep apnea.

Due to these serious health risks, it is crucial that you seek treatment for sleep apnea as soon as you notice symptoms (the most common is chronic snoring). Dr. Fleschler offers a variety of sleep apnea treatment options. Depending on the specifics of your case, she may recommend one of the following treatments:

  • Oral appliance therapy
  • Positional sleep therapy
  • CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure)
  • Surgery

If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, visit Dr. Fleschler for a comprehensive sleep evaluation today. Failure to treat the condition in a timely manner can have life-altering consequences.

Please contact Dr. Heather Fleschler today to schedule your sleep apnea diagnosis. We serve patients in the West University, River Oaks, Meyerland, and Bellaire areas of Houston, Texas.

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