How many times did your parents tell you to go to bed lest you risk your body not growing throughout the night? You can almost still hear it – “You’re not going to grow unless you get at least 8 hours of sleep each night!”
Most of us paid little attention to the pleadings of our parents when we were young, and lack of sleep was never a real concern as a kid. Skip forward ten, twenty or more years and we certainly understand the notion that sleep is important.
Remember that the body truly begins to breakdown when you don’t get enough sleep, and untreated Sleep Apnea is one of the most dangerous health conditions that can directly affect sleep patterns.
Looking at it from a head-to-toe perspective, here are some of the most pervasive ways untreated Sleep Apnea can affect the body.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect the Brain?
Lack of sleep directly affects the brain’s ability to process information and remain attentive. Studies show that being awake for 20 consecutive hours creates the same level of cognitive impairment as having a 0.10 blood alcohol content (well above the legal limit in most states!).
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect the Pituitary, Hypothalamus and Adrenal Glands?
Sleep regulates the production and transportation of various hormones throughout the body, many of which are made in one of these three bodily glands. Under normal conditions, growth hormone levels jump up at night – promoting cellular regeneration, muscular repair and overall growth. See, your parents were right!
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Sinuses?
OSA sufferers often end up breathing through their mouths due to nasal blockages or other sinus-related issues. This can cause dry mouth, which leads to bad breath, gum disease, and other oral-health conditions. When you don’t get enough sleep, your sinuses are directly affected. The body loses much of its natural illness-fighting, anti-inflammatory cells located in the nose.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect the Heart?
OSA has been proven to be quite dangerous to heart health, but even those who simply get insufficient sleep each night can damage their heart. OSA has been linked to poor overall cardiovascular health, insulin instability, and hormone issues that can drive weight gain – further straining the heart.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect the Pancreas?
Studies have shown a correlation between those who suffer from Sleep Apnea and people with an elevated risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Interestingly, people who work odd hours (like night shifts or extremely long, on-call-style shifts) may also be at higher risk for Type 2 Diabetes – indicating that inconsistent sleep patterns may cause health issues.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect the Skin?
Ever heard of the term, “beauty sleep?” It isn’t a myth! Lackof sleep can quickly cause the skin to appear older and less radiant. Getting enough sleep makes people look and feel rested and younger. Plastic surgeons may not want to advertise this, but simply addressing OSA and getting enough sleep can act as a natural “facelift” for many patients.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect the Legs?
No high-performance athlete would ever stay up late the night before a big race or sporting event – and any good trainer will tell them that sleep is one of the keys to resting and rebuilding muscles in the legs. Proper sleep also enhances the body’s ability to stave off inflammation and boosts the brain’s efficiency when telling the legs what to do.
Untreated Sleep Apnea doesn’t just simply make you feel tired. In fact, it interferes with dozens of the body’s most important functions and can attack your health, wellness and longevity from your head to your toes. Treating it is the only sensible option. If you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from untreated Sleep Apnea, speak with your doctor for a diagnosis.
For more information about Sleep Apnea and the CPAP machines that are designed to treat the condition, contact the experts at CPAP.com today.
Daniela has researched and published over 60 articles covering topics that aim to inform and empower people living with Sleep Apnea. As an avid reader and researcher, Daniela continues to grow her knowledge about Sleep Apnea and CPAP therapy everyday with the help of coworkers, CPAP.com customers, and members of other CPAP communities online.