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The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop and start throughout the night. The different forms of sleep apnea include obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea (a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.) Sleep apnea disrupts your sleep and leaves you at risk for many other potential health issues. 

High Blood Pressure

Because sleep apnea causes you to wake up frequently throughout the night—it can stress your body and boost your blood pressure levels. A lack of sleep can make your hormones go into overdrive which can also affect blood pressure. Because sleep apnea also affects your breathing, it impacts the level of oxygen in your blood as well—causing blood pressure to rise. 

If someone struggles with high blood pressure and they obtain sleep apnea, their blood pressure issues are likely to worsen. 

Heart Disease

Those who are dealing with sleep apnea are at higher risk for heart disease. The low oxygen levels and stress of waking up through the night both contribute to heart disease and leave you at higher risk for a heart attack, stroke, and atrial fibrillation (a quickened and fluttering heartbeat.) When your body does not get enough oxygen, your brain struggles to control blood flow. 

Acid Reflux

Though it hasn’t been proven that sleep apnea causes acid reflux, there does seem to be a correlation. In some cases, treating acid reflux can also improve symptoms of sleep apnea and vice versa. 


Sleep apnea blocks your airways and puts you at a higher risk of developing breathing disorders. It has been proven that treating symptoms of sleep apnea can lead to fewer asthma attacks. 

Those who struggle with asthma are also more likely to develop a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea. A study reported by WebMD found that about 15% of those with sleep apnea also struggle with asthma. 

Weight Gain

Weight gain and sleep apnea go hand in hand. Suffering from sleep apnea leads to weight gain and being overweight puts you at higher risk for sleep apnea—it’s a slippery slope. Sleep apnea and consistently waking up through the night makes it more difficult to lose weight. When dealing with sleep apnea, your body will release more hormones that cause you to crave carbs and sweets. It’s also more difficult for you to turn food into energy—also leading to weight gain. Similarly, being overweight often means having fatty deposits in your neck that can obstruct breathing at night and lead to obstructive sleep apnea. 

Though sleep apnea can be dangerous, the good news is—it’s treatable! There are treatment and surgical options to help you recover from sleep apnea. At Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah, our team can help you determine the right course of action for you. Contact us today to learn more


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