Health Effects of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea in The Woodlands is a more common occurrence than most residents think. What is construed as loud snoring can in fact be a very solemn medical condition.

There are three main types of sleep apnea namely obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome which is a combination of the first two.

Obstructive sleep apnea is often a more destructive condition and is the main type of apnea we will be concerned with in this article. Apnea can have adverse consequences on the rest of your body which may include:

High Blood Pressure

Sleep apnea will exacerbate your high blood pressure. Since you tend to get up at night when you have sleep apnea, your body is bound to be under more stress than usual.

The stress will then cause your hormone systems to overreact when trying to recover from your lack of sleep. Your hormone levels combined with the lack of sleep will cause your blood pressure to substantially increase.

Reducing your blood pressure can be done in a variety of ways but when you suffer from sleep apnea, they are drastically reduced. Treatment by a doctor may be the only way to do so.

Heart Conditions

Your blood pressure and heart health are inextricably connected. One affects the other and when one suffers so does the other.

Simply stated, people with sleep apnea are at a higher risk of suffering from heart attacks than those without. Strokes and atrial fibrillation are also strongly connected with sleep apnea.

One of the reasons why sleep apnea is likely to lead to a heart condition is due to the lack of enough oxygen in the blood. By disrupting how much oxygen your blood gets, your brain also gets distorted and does not function optimally by not sending enough oxygen to the blood.

Less oxygenated blood has an adverse reaction on your heart which pumps and distributes blood to the entire body.

Weight Gain

When you suffer from sleep apnea, you are more likely to gain weight for a variety of reasons. Vice versa is also true since there are fat deposits in your neck that can cause difficulty breathing when sleeping.

One of the reasons is that when you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces the hormone ghrelin. The hormone regulates your hunger and when in excess causes you to crave carbohydrates and sugar which are foods that lead to weight gain.

Moreover, your body performs its restorative functions when you are asleep. Therefore, when you have sleep apnea, you are not going to get optimal results from physical activity.


There is not much research to support a direct causal relationship between sleep apnea and diabetes. On the other hand, many type 2 diabetes patients do suffer from sleep apnea so to infer a relationship would not be false.

When you cannot get enough sleep to sleep apnea, your body will be unable to properly regulate your insulin levels which will put you at a higher risk of getting diabetes or exacerbate the condition if you have it.

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.