What Happens When Sleep Apnea Is Untreated

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What Happens When Sleep Apnea Is Untreated

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that should not be left untreated. It is extremely unfortunate that millions of people are living with this disorder, but do not have it diagnosed and treated. There are many devastating long-term effects that can occur when sleep apnea is neglected.


Because Sleep apnea disrupts sleep and inhibits the ability to reach and stay in deep sleep throughout the night, the most obvious and common side effect is fatigue. If you have this condition, you will likely wake in the morning feeling extremely groggy, sometimes with a headache.

Throughout the day, you can experience extreme sleepiness and difficulty going about your daily activities and responsibilities. Making it through a workday can be difficult, especially since your lack of sleep can also cause you to be irritable and depressed. These in turn can lead to other problems such as poor performance reviews at work and decreased social life due to the fact that you are just too tired to interact with others. This is not a long-term lifestyle that anyone should have to endure.


Being tired throughout the day can lead to problems that are much more serious than just having a bad day at work. People who suffer from sleep apnea can find themselves getting drowsy and dozing off to sleep while reading, watching television, or when driving a vehicle.

Nodding off while reading a book is generally not a bad thing, but doing so while driving is very serious. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to extremely dangerous, and even fatal, traffic accidents. This condition can also lead to serious workplace accidents, if you are required to operate machinery or otherwise perform tasks that require you to be very alert. Your lack of quality rest can put your safety, and the safety of others, at high risk.

Cardiovascular Complications

As the breathing shallows or pauses during sleep, this decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood. Drops in blood oxygen levels can be detrimental for heart health. Sleep apnea puts individuals at a higher risk for heart problems and those that already have heart disease or other conditions are put at a much greater risk for complications.

Other Medical Conditions

Over time, untreated sleep apnea puts individuals at a higher risk for developing other serious and chronic illnesses. This includes stroke, heart disease, diabetes, depression, obesity, and others. By addressing the underlying causes of sleep apnea, individuals can significantly reduce their risk of developing many other conditions.

Getting Help for Sleep Apnea

The good news is that, in many cases, addressing sleep apnea is not difficult. Many individuals can see marked improvement by losing weight and/or otherwise making positive lifestyle changes. Sleep apnea can also be addressed with the help of CPAP devices and other breathing therapy machines that are used to regulate the amount of air intake throughout the night. To learn more about the specific treatment options that would be best for your condition, speak with a physician or schedule a consultation with a sleep clinic.

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