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Sleep Apnea and the Effects on Health

Sleep apnea is a condition that is defined as abnormal breathing while sleeping, causing multiple extended periods of paused breathing. This leads to lower quality sleep and inadequate oxygen supply to the body during the night, which can have various negative effects on overall health. It is estimated that up to 9% of adults have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is more common in men but is also found in many women and children.

Signs and symptoms that are associated with sleep apnea are altered or labored breathing while sleeping, loud snoring with gasping or snorting, excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, irritability, and decreased cognition.

The reduced quality of sleep and low oxygen that occurs due to sleep apnea has been shown to affect many common health issues. The sudden drops in oxygen at night has been shown to increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. It can increase insulin resistance, therefore, increasing the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Along with causing chronic fatigue and sleepiness, it can also affect a person’s mood, immune system, libido, liver, and cholesterol.

If you believe that you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, they should ask their primary care provider about getting a sleep study. There are clinics that perform these overnight and the testing is very thorough. But if sleeping in an unfamiliar setting is what is keeping you from getting a sleep study done, there are many services that now provide at-home sleep study kits. These services will send you all the equipment needed to perform the study from the comfort of your own home.

And if your own health is not enough to motivate you to get a sleep study, then do it for your poor partner who is constantly being woke up throughout the night & getting poor sleep because of your bear-like


Joshua White PA-C