Severe Sleep Apnea Complications

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Sleep apnea is the sudden cessation of breathing while a person is asleep. It may be a result of a mechanical obstruction, a problem in the brain signals to our respiratory muscles or a mixture of both. Whatever the real cause of sleep apnea is, we have to be alert enough to seek for medical attention as this condition is not anything to be taken lightly.

When sleep apnea becomes severe and unmanageable, it may result to many different complications, most of which can be very fatal to a person’s life. Severe sleep apnea complications may happen and these may be any of the following:

Stroke or Cerebrovascular Accident

Severe sleep apnea can lead to stroke—although it may sound a bit exaggerated; it is actually a true occurrence. When we suffer from severe sleep apnea, blood supply to the brain contains lesser than normal amount of oxygen. When our brain becomes deprived of oxygen, brain cells die too and this may lead to stroke or CVA.

Congestive Heart Failure and Heart Attack

What happens when we suffer from severe sleep apnea is that the level of oxygen in our blood becomes too low. When this happens, our body tries to compensate. One of the compensatory mechanisms of our body is through the heart rate. The heart beats faster than usual and the heart becomes strained. As such, this may lead to damage to the heart tissues.

Similarly, when our heart fails to receive adequate amount of oxygen, it may suffer from ischemia and subsequently infarction. Muscles of the heart may die and lead to heart attack.

Hypertension

There is an unknown reason as to why people with severe sleep apnea develop hypertension in the long run. In fact, there is an estimated 50% of people suffering from snoring who develop high blood pressure.

Hypercapnic Respiratory Failure

We have to understand that hypercapnia is the medical term for an increased amount of carbon dioxide in our blood stream, and respiratory failure refers to the inability of our respiratory muscles to facilitate the exchange of gas from inside and outside of the body. When our blood stream becomes so full of carbon dioxide, it can damage our respiratory muscles and organs disabling them from functioning properly.

Death

This is the most fatal thing that may occur and is found to happen most commonly among infants. This type of occurrence is otherwise known as SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome wherein the infant dies without any sign or symptom at all. Most cases of SIDS are due to severe sleep apnea that these infants experience. Being new to the outside/ extrauterine environment, they are still not used to the pressure of the air and they are not well practiced in breathing mechanically.

Severe sleep apnea, as less serious and simple as it may sound, is actually a life or death concern. Severe disabilities can happen when severe sleep apnea becomes unmanaged and untreated. As a preventive measure, have yourself checked by the best sleep doctor near you.

 

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