The detrimental effects of sleep deprivation have been studiously researched and well documented. What many people do not know, however, is that you can be deprived of restful sleep without knowing. Sleep apnea is a condition that allows you to fall asleep, but prevents your mind and body from achieving REM sleep—the deep sleep that your body needs to rejuvenate itself. Researchers have established a clear link between OSA and serious health issues, including stroke. Today, we explain why the destruction that OSA can have on your brain’s functions is one of many reasons why you should worry about sleep apnea.
What Sleep Apnea Means
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, affects an estimated 20% of adults in America. The condition occurs during sleep, when oral and throat tissues collapse and obstruct your airway. As the air attempts to squeeze past the compacted tissue, loud thunderous noise results, and sleep apnea is often mistaken for an exaggerated case of snoring. After a while, however, the collapsed tissues can press together so tightly that air can no longer pass through, and your breathing stops for a period of several seconds. Your brain wakes your body enough to restart the breathing process, but the cycle occurs again, sometimes hundreds of times a night. You may not notice the problem, since people normally do not wake fully during this cycle. Unfortunately, though, the condition makes deep sleep impossible, and your mind and body soon begin to feel the effects of sleep deprivation.
The Dangers of Constant Sleep Apnea Episodes
For years, researchers have studied the effects of OSA by observing decreased blood oxygen levels. Researchers now have developed a model that incorporates all physiological aspects of OSA, including closure of the airway. After one month of study, during which animal test subjects were exposed to OSA conditions, the researchers observed that performance of the cerebral vessels had decreased by 22%. The findings shed light on the processes by which OSA can destroy the health of your cerebrovascular (brain vessels) system, possibly leading to stroke.
Learn More About the Consequences of Sleep Apnea
If you believe that you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea, then learn how to treat it as soon as possible. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling Houston Sleep Solutions in Spring, TX, at (281) 320-2000, or in Pearland, TX, at (832) 564-3508.