How can Obstructive Sleep Apnea Affect your health?


Sleep apnea exists in two different main types, namely:

a) Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA)
The most common form of sleep apnea is the OSA. It is where there is partial or complete obstruction of the airway. The soft tissue at the back of the throat collapse and block the upper airways while sleeping.

b) Central Sleep Apnea
In central sleep apnea, instability in the respiratory control center causes the brain to “forget” to signal your muscles to breathe. Due to this, your body makes no effort to breathe for brief intervals of time.

c) Complex/Mixed Sleep Apnea
Complex sleep apnea is a condition where you have both the obstructive and central sleep apnea.

If you have sleep apnea and leave it untreated, it can result in some health problems, which may include:

What are the comorbidities associated with OSA?

Several studies have been carried out in this field to determine the correlation between OSA and several associated health problems as compared to the general population. The outlined comorbidities have a higher prevalence among those with OSA:

1. Hypertension
2. Strokes
3. High blood pressure
4. Headaches
5. Obesity
6. Diabetes mellitus
7. Depression
8. Sexual Dysfunction
9. Snoring
10. Mood disturbances
11. Poor concentration

These studies have also indicated that OSA is more prevalent among the male gender as compared to the female gender. The number of cases of women with obstructive sleep apnea, however, increases in the postmenopausal age. These comorbidities lead to an increase in the mortality rates in patients with OSA; as compared to the general population.

The percentage of prevalence of the different comorbidities in the patients under the study increased with the level of OSA. That is, they were more prevalent among those with severe OSA, followed by the moderates and lastly, those with mild OSA.

Obesity, as a comorbidity associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, shows the most direct correlation to OSA, its prevalence, and severity. However, the symptoms of depression due to having OSA even though prevalent do not show any correlation with its severity.

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