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7 Destructive Effects of Sleep Apnea on the Body

Author
Amanda Turner
June 28, 2022

If you struggle with sleep apnea or you’re worried that your snoring partner may have this condition, it’s important to understand the different ways that sleep apnea can affect your life. People who have sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly while they sleep. Regular loud snoring can make it tough for people with sleep apnea to get the rest that they need. Sleep apnea doesn’t just make for a tough night’s sleep–it can also contribute to a myriad of health issues. 

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If you or a loved one were harmed by a Philips Respironics CPAP or BiPAP machine, you may be entitled to compensation.

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Here, we’ll take a look at seven different ways sleep apnea can affect the body

1. Psychological and Neurological Issues

We all know that it can be tough to function on a high level after a bad night’s sleep, and people with sleep apnea can have an especially tough time staying focused the day after a night of repeatedly ceasing to breathe while sleeping. Some people who have sleep apnea deal with mental confusion, as they feel foggy due to their lack of quality sleep. 

Memory loss is also a problem for many people who have sleep apnea. During sleep, memories are consolidated. A lack of quality sleep can make it difficult for the brain to consolidate and categorize memories in a way that makes sense, leading to memory loss. 

Depression and fatigue can also occur in people who have sleep apnea. People who have sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are more likely to experience depression and fatigue than people who get healthy, high-quality sleep.

2. Respiratory Problems

Some people who have sleep apnea develop adult asthma, which can result in symptoms like feeling short of breath and struggling to return to a natural breathing pattern after exercise. Asthma may become worse when a person gets sick or experiences seasonal allergies. Some people who have asthma experience asthma attacks, a serious respiratory event that requires immediate medical attention.

Low blood oxygen levels can also occur in people who have sleep apnea. When a person stops breathing at night, their body can be deprived of the oxygen it needs to function properly. People who have sleep apnea and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may also experience a worsening of their COPD symptoms. 

Unusual breathing patterns at night can also result in people with sleep apnea experiencing a dry mouth or sore throat when they wake up. 

3. Circulatory Health Issues

Sleep apnea can increase the risk for heart failure, high blood pressure, tachycardia (irregular heartbeat), and stroke. People who have high blood pressure may also experience increased sleep apnea symptoms. People who have sleep apnea may also experience high cholesterol, which can put them at higher risk for heart problems. Metabolic syndrome–a collection of factors related to heart disease, such as a larger-than-normal waist circumference, high blood pressure, high LDL cholestorol, and high blood sugar–has also been linked to sleep apnea. 

4. Digestive System Problems

People who experience chronic heartburn may experience a worsening of the condition with sleep apnea. Over time, chronic heartburn can progress into acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). These conditions can result in hoarseness, other digestive problems, and, if left untreated, esophageal cancer. 

People who have sleep apnea may also experience fatty liver disease. This condition can result in higher levels of liver enzymes, as well as liver scarring that can interfere with the organ’s ability to function. 

5. Endocrine System Problems

Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are related to sleep apnea. These conditions occur when the body’s cells do not respond well to insulin. The hormone insulin works to help blood sugar move into the body’s cells so that they body can convert sugar into energy. When blood sugar enters cells and leaves the blood, the body creates a signal that tells insulin to decrease.

In a person with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, this part of the endocrine (hormone) system does not work properly. Diabetes can become more complicated in people who have sleep apnea than in people who do not have the condition. 

6. Reproductive System Issues

The lack of sleep caused by sleep apnea can result in decreased sexual desire. In some men, sleep apnea may also contribute to erectile disfunction (ED). Sleep apnea can also affect fertility in men.

7. Immune System Health Issues

Normally, the body works to fight disease and heal injury during sleep. When a person struggles to get high-quality sleep due to sleep apnea, it can be hard for the body to go through it’s natural repair cycles. This can result in a lowered ability to fight disease and infection. 

Struggles with other health problems can also make it difficult to get quality sleep, making it especially difficult for a person with sleep apnea to get well after they get sick. 

Philips Respironics CPAP & BiPAP Recall Lawsuit

Many people who suffer from sleep apnea rely on breathing machines called CPAPs and BiPAPs to help them breathe safely at night. Philips Respironics recently issued a list of recalls for their CPAP and BiPAP devices that had the potential to harm users during use. Some people who had recalled machines have had to send them back to Philips. The company has stated that it may take up to a year for defective parts to be moved from their machines and replaced with non-defective parts. Some people who have experienced negative effects from the use of recalled Philips Respironics CPAP and BiPAP machines have joined class action lawsuits to help them get the compensation they deserve. 

If you believe you’ve been affected by the Philips Respironics CPAP and BiPAP recall, you don’t have to go through filing a case alone. We’re here to help. Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation.

Free Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one were harmed by a Philips Respironics CPAP or BiPAP machine, you may be entitled to compensation.

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