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What health conditions are linked to sleep apnoea?

Posted by Blooms The Chemist on 16 Mar 2023

What health conditions are linked to sleep apnoea?


Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is where your throat may relax so much that not enough or no air can get into your lungs, which causes you to stop breathing.

You may only stop breathing for a short time as your brain will send a signal to you to wake up, but this can happen hundreds of times a night, impacting the quality of your sleep1.

While broken sleep can impact your quality of life, there are also a range of health conditions that you may be at higher risk of getting. We explore these below.

Diabetes

That’s right. If your sleep apnoea is left untreated, it can place you at a higher risk of developing diabetes.

New research has suggested that when one condition (such as sleep apnoea) is diagnosed, the other (such as diabetes) could be in 50 to 80% of patients2.

It’s also been suggested that even in sleep apnoea patients that do not have diabetes, just having sleep apnoea may predict that you are at risk of developing diabetes within the next few years.

Heart issues

If you’re suffering from untreated obstructive sleep apnoea, there is a high amount of heart health conditions that it can impact, including3:

  • Recurrent heart attacks

  • Stroke

  • Heart conditions, such as arrhythmia

  • Heart failure

  • High blood pressure

  • Coronary heart disease

Untreated sleep apnoea has a significant impact on your heart as it causes you to stop breathing while you’re sleeping.

When you stop breathing, your body releases a stress hormone, which helps wake you up to breathe.

As this can happen hundreds of times in a night, there is high strain on your cardiovascular system3.

Mood disorders

According to new research, patients with obstructive sleep apnoea are more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders.

The study, which studied patients over a nine-year period, found that obstructive sleep apnoea can worsen your quality of life and reduce the willingness to attend therapy4.

However, the study could not suggest a cause of the relationship between obstructive sleep apnoea and mood disorders.

It has been suggested through previous research that sleep disturbances cause significant psychological health impairment5.

If you think you may be at risk of sleep apnoea, take our free online quiz to determine your risk factors of sleep apnoea.

References

1Better Health Victoria, Sleep Apnoea, accessed 13 March 2023

2Sleep Health Foundation Australia, Diabetes and Sleep, accessed 13 March 2023

3Australian Heart Research Institute, Obstructive sleep apnoea: causes and symptoms, accessed 13 March 2023

4United States National Library of Medicine, Association of Obstructive Sleep Apnea With the Risk of Affective Disorders, accessed 13 March 2023

5United States National Library of Medicine, Relationship between obstructive sleep apnea severity and sleep, depression and anxiety symptoms in newly-diagnosed patients, accessed 13 March 2023