Common Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea include (but are not limited to):
- Excessive Day time fatigue
- Memory issues/Short term memory loss
- Frequent nighttime waking
- Morning Headaches
- Dry mouth
- Drop in blood oxygen levels
- Waking up gasping for air
- Waking up un-refreshed
- Waking up frequently throughout the night
- Repetitive movement during sleep
- Sexual dysfunction
- Difficulty concentrating
- High blood pressure
- Weight issues
Health conditions associated with Sleep Apnea
- Heart Disease/High Blood Pressure
- Type II Diabetes
How Does Sleep Apnea contribute to heart disease?
- When air flow into our lungs stops our oxygen saturation drops
- This drop in oxygen levels puts stress on our body that causes a release of Epinephrine
- When this happens repeatedly our body’s level of Epinephrine remains elevated. This can cause high blood pressure.
- Using PAP therapy will help to keep our blood oxygen at a normal level. Which will decrease the release of EPI and help to reduce high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stoke
How Does Sleep Apnea contribute to Diabetes?
- Statistics show that up to 48% of people diagnosed with Type II Diabetes are also diagnosed with Sleep Apnea
- Sleep Apnea deprives the body of Oxygen. This causes our fat cells to respond poorly to insulin altering our body’s glucose metabolism and promoting insulin resistance/glucose intolerance causing Type II diabetes
- Treating sleep apnea will maintain our body’s blood oxygen levels which can help reverse insulin resistance
How does Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) contribute to Obesity?
- There is a link between poor sleep and our fat cells
- Fat cells are meant to eliminate fatty acids and lipids from our blood steam
- Not sleeping well impairs our fat cells, making it harder for them to do their job. This leaves harmful fatty acids and lipids to free roam in our blood
- This can cause weight gain and lead to the development of Type II diabetes
- Poor sleep can also cause us to overeat or crave unhealthy foods
- Poor sleep can also disrupt our normal metabolic processes and make it harder for the body to regulate hormones (Like insulin and EPI)
How Does Sleep Disruption affect mental health?
- It is hard to describe exactly how poor sleep can cause mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. But we know that they can be linked.
- It is known that people who do not sleep well have a greater risk of developing depression and that people that have depression tend to have difficulties sleeping (The Chicken vs The Egg)
- Poor sleep can result in irritability and exhaustion
- It also skews our ability to regulate our emotions
- A good quality sleep is crucial to allow our brain to recharge at the end of the day to optimize how it functions throughout the next (like your phone battery)
Driving with Sleep Apnea:
Driving safety is a huge concern to patients who suffer from Sleep Apnea. If you have Sleep Apnea you may be at an increased risk of a motor vehicle accident. One of the symptoms some people experience with Sleep Apnea is excessive fatigue. The severity of this symptom differs from person to person however, if you have Sleep Apnea and are driving while fatigued you are twice as likely to get in a motor vehicle accident. Effective treatment of Sleep Apnea can reduce this risk. Please contact your family Doctor as soon as possible if you are feeling drowsy while driving.
If your symptoms return:
If any signs or symptoms of sleep apnea return after you start using CPAP therapy please contact your Sleep Physician. You are eligible to go for a Sleep Study every 2 years covered by OHIP. Any change in weight and/or medical history could cause the return of symptoms as a change in pressure or therapy may be needed.
The Long-term benefits of PAP therapy include:
- Lowering Blood Pressure.
- Reduces risk of Cardiovascular Comorbidities.
- Lowering Blood Sugar.
- Can help with weight loss.
- Has a positive effect on mood and attitude.
- Decreases number of awakenings during the night (less trips to the bathroom).