Insights on the dangers of untreated sleep apnea for your health

Esther Rodriguez Villegas, a professor at Imperial College London and founder of medical technology company Acurable, recently discussed the common health issues associated with sleep apnea in an interview with Fox News Digital. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can have serious implications on overall health, particularly cardiovascular health.

One of the major risks associated with sleep apnea is cardiovascular disease. This condition can strain the cardiovascular system, leading to potentially life-threatening problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Sleep apnea causes breathing to stop and start during sleep, which can affect anyone but is especially prevalent in individuals with factors like excessive weight or thicker neck circumference.

Certain demographic groups are at higher risk of developing sleep apnea, including older men, excessive alcohol consumers, and smokers. If left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to a variety of health issues such as diabetes and even car accidents due to impaired energy and concentration levels. Furthermore, individuals with sleep apnea may experience difficulties in school or at work, potentially leading to disciplinary issues or misdiagnoses like ADHD in children.

In addition to physical health complications, sleep apnea can also have a significant impact on mental health. Symptoms such as low mood, irritability, anxiety, and depression are commonly reported by individuals with this condition. Recognizing the signs of sleep apnea is crucial, as symptoms include loud snoring, frequent awakenings during the night, and morning headaches or dry mouth.

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for individuals with sleep apnea, including CPAP machines, mandibular advancement devices, surgeries, and lifestyle changes like weight loss and alcohol reduction. However, it is important to note that only a small fraction of people with sleep apnea are officially diagnosed. Therefore, seeking out a healthcare provider for examination and treatment is strongly recommended to improve overall quality of life and reduce the risk of serious health complications.

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