Sleep apnea is one of the more common sleep disorders but, unfortunately, it is also potentially one of the most dangerous, if left untreated. Besides for the typical symptoms of sleep apnea, such as exceptionally loud snoring, abrupt shortness of breath during sleep, awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat and insomnia and hypersomnia, there are many hidden or unclear symptoms that can manifest themselves. If any of these hidden dangers occur, it is important to consult a medical professional immediately. With that in mind, here is what you need to look out for as less often mentioned warning signs of sleep apnea.
Type 2 Diabetes
Those who suffer from sleep apnea are at high risk to develop insulin resistance, which may result in type 2 diabetes if left untreated. Sleep apnea is actually extremely common among people with type 2 diabetes, and whether it is a cause and effect relationship is not totally determinable, it is estimated that up to 80% of those who suffer form type 2 diabetes also have sleep apnea. While there isn’t a study that links the two together, it is known that not getting enough sleep can keep your body from forming insulin properly.
Heart disease is also another underlying issue that can be seriously exacerbated by sleep apnea. This is because sleep apnea alters the normally way in which your body takes in oxygen. This makes it difficult for your brain to get enough oxygen and disrupts its control of blood flow to your arteries, and also to the brain itself. If you’re not careful, this can also lead to stroke, as the lack of oxygen and stress of waking up frequently can have fatal consequences.
Weight gain is likely the most overlooked hidden symptom of sleep apnea, but also the most obvious. There are visible signs of weight gain, but its unlikely that you will associate this with sleep apnea. The weight gain can cause the fatty deposits in your neck to block air at night, and can also release the ghrelin, which makes you crave carbs and sweets. While weight gain itself is not dangerous, obesity is, and can in turn lead to the vicious cycle of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you feel as those you are experiencing any of these hidden symptoms for reasons outside of your control or habits, you should consult a medical professional immediately and have a sleep study performed. Sleep apnea may be the culprit behind any of these conditions, and if treated, you may have a chance at keeping these other conditions at bay.
Contact Dr. Shukla to set up an appointment to discuss treatment for any sleep disorders you may be facing.