Medical Problems Associated with Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is associated with a number of medical problems.
Although the mechanisms on how certain these numerous problems relate to sleep apnea are not always clear, one of the biggest systems it affects is the cardiovascular system.
Arrhythmias- Atrial fibrillation is almost a 1-1 correlation. You’re going to have sleep apnea if you have atrial fibrillation.
Atherosclerosis- Coronary artery disease tends to come along with a high regularity — not exactly 1-1 — but controlling your sleep apnea in turn help control this disease.
Heart disease- Pulmonary artery hypertension are very much associated with sleep apnea. Although this condition is something that is probably not reversible to any great degree once it becomes established.
Hypertension- High blood pressure may in large part be due to sleep apnea.
Chronic Sinusitis: Sinusitis is commonly associated with sleep apnea. With inflammation in the sinus passageways, patients may stop breathing in their sleep. In our experience, 20-30% of our Balloon Sinuplasty patients have sleep apnea.
Diabetes- Diabetes is well known to be associated with improved control and perhaps even reversal of diabetes with control of the sleep apnea.
Obesity- People tend to gain weight and it’s quite often associated with sleep apnea but it may actually be that sleep apnea contributes more to the weight gain in some patients rather than the weight gain contributing as much to the sleep apnea. People always want to attribute sleep apnea to oh, you’ve just gained weight, you’re heavy. There’s hope for this. You don’t have to accept that as an answer. The curing of sleep apnea may help with weight control.
Erectile Dysfunction- Erectile dysfunction, which is often under diagnosed, is associated with sleep apnea. Curing sleep apnea can cure erectile dysfunction; not 100%, but it’s a very common element that improves the condition.
Hypertestosteronism- Also associated with sleep apnea. Again, people who have sleep apnea should be tested for hypertestosteronism.
Attention deficit disorder- ADD is quite frequently improved with sleep apnea control. In fact, a substantial proportion of people that are diagnosed with sleep apnea and ADHD as children, and have fixed their obstructive sleep apnea, have improved their ADHD or sometimes resolved completely.
A lot of conditions that are seemingly unrelated improve dramatically with improvement of sleep apnea.
The good news is that sleep apnea is treatable. If you think you may have any of these conditions that you may have an association with sleep apnea, feel free to schedule an appointment to find out for sure, or take our sleep apnea quiz.
Written by Dr. Dillard