There are many misconceptions about the causes and symptoms of sleep apnea. Many believe that the biggest threat from this disease is suffocation to death. Actual suffocation is the least of the problems caused by this condition. Here are some of the more serious side effects and symptoms of sleep apnea.
Drop in blood acid during incidents of apnea. This is by far the most serious problem with this disease. A steep drop in blood acid is what actually causes people to die of this disease. The lack of oxygen causes the brain to enter a mini-coma, from which the victim often does not wake up. It is this drop in the acid in the brain that can cause death in apnea victims and not the unpleasant experience of waking up choking. Lack of acid in the brain can have many long-lasting effects, including brain cell damage and memory loss.
There is growing evidence that sleep apnea may be the cause or, most importantly, a contributing factor to problems with cardiac electrical conductivity. Irregular heartbeat and atrial fibrillation are common in apnea killers. Blood pressure regulation, either too high or too low, is also a common problem associated with sleep apnea.
Irregular heartbeat can cause blood clots in the victims' extremities that can travel to the heart and lungs and cause immediate death.
Fetma - the chicken or the egg? Sleep apnea is considered a condition related to obesity. Fat tissue in the throat extinguishes the airway during sleep, which reduces the oxygen in the brain, but there is growing evidence that apnea can actually be the cause or at least a contributing factor to obesity.
The reason you need to sleep is that your body needs to repair and renew from the harm that free radicals and daily muscle damage cause to our cellular structure. During deep sleep, the body completes these repairs and resets to optimal functionality.
There is a process called the Krebs cycle where food is converted into simple sugars, which are then converted into micro molecules. These micromolecules combine blood acid and burn in our muscle cells metabolic oven. These fuel molecules are stored in muscle cells that are to be burned (in combination with oxygen) in the metabolic furnace of the muscle when the body exerts or physically exerts itself.
Without this storage of cellular nutrients or fuels, the metabolic furnace of the muscles slows down. The body feels of starvation and tries to reduce the metabolic rate to keep itself from running out of fuel. Driving fuel is almost as dangerous as it goes out of oxygen. Fuel is needed to maintain body temperature and basic body functions. Without a minimum of metabolic fuel you will die. Lack of metabolic fuel causes muscle atrophy which further lowers the body's overall metabolic rate.
When the sleep is interrupted, the Krebs cycle is disturbed and cell rejuvenation and proper storage of cellular nutrients is limited. This means that less of the nutrients we take in our bodies are actually used for our bodily needs and the rest is stored as fat. At the same time, the body, even with nutrition in abundance, feels weak and deprived and tries to compensate for demands for sugars and other readily available foods. Your body is trying to quickly build up these micrometabolic fuels to protect its very survival.
This inability to use the nutrients we consume creates a spiral of over eating and obesity. Sleep apnea can not be the immediate cause of obesity, but it can certainly contribute to the problem and can make it almost impossible to maintain a healthy weight.
Fatigue, laziness and lack of ambition. Sleep apnea can create a blood sugar bank of cravings and dietary surpluses. Lack of sleep and metabolic disorders can contribute to such diseases as diabetes and various deficiencies in nutrients. Fatigue, laziness and even lack of ambition can be attributed, at least in part, to sleep apnea.
Mood and Chronic Depression - There is reason to believe that sleep disorders generally can contribute to prolonged chronic depression. Depression is a devastating syndrome that can literally destroy your life.
Apnea is a controllable disease that can cause so many other sometimes less controllable diseases. If you think you may suffer from sleep apnea run, do not go to the nearest sleep specialist. Get tested and treated for this disease before it leads to serious health problems.