#Sleep apnea is a serious condition whose effects are often overlooked or attributed to other causes. Education is the first step in treating your apnea. To understand the seriousness of treatment, you must understand the risks of the disease.

Sleep apnea is characterized by a cessation of airflow lasting more than ten seconds, causing wakefulness from five to 10 times per hour. You may not be aware of waking, but your body is, and the cumulative oxygen shortage caused by these episodes can have serious repercussions. When the airflow is interrupted, your oxygen saturation can drop from 95% down to as low as 50%. Oxygen starvation contributes to stroke, and the body’s efforts to counter oxygen shortage can lead to high blood pressure and heart attacks.

Your body depends on sleep to conduct important tasks, including the secretion of growth hormones, which normally happen during the first episode of delta sleep, the deepest sleep our body achieves, and sleep apnea can interrupt this. Sleep apnea can also interrupt crucial REM sleep. Although the exact function of REM sleep is unknown, some theories link it to memory, others to the development of the central nervous system, or to the rejuvenation of monoamine receptors, so that they can respond properly to monoamines such as dopamine and serotonin, both of which are significant components of the cognitive-emotional system of the brain. What is known is that people who do not get enough REM sleep perform worse on cognitive tests, often feel sleepy during the day, and have an increased risk of car accidents.

Sleep apnea is defined as the cessation of breathing during sleep for at least 10 seconds, and at least 5 times in an hour.
But there is help out there!

As a result of these physiologic effects, sleep apnea sufferers are at an increased risk for:

  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Heart attack
  • Muscle pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes
  • Psychological conditions including:
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Mood swings
    • Impaired libido / impotence

Many of these effects increase in severity over time, and cannot be properly treated without addressing the underlying cause of sleep apnea. If you are being medicated for any psychological condition, but are not responding to treatment, it is possible that sleep apnea may be a contributing factor.

However, once diagnosed, sleep apnea can be treated. We have over twenty years of experience helping people in Southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, including the Chicago metro area. To learn more about treatment options for your sleep apnea, please call or email us at the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center in Gurnee, Illinois, to set up your free initial consultation.

Call us today at 1-8-NO-PAP-MASK