The Effects of Sleep Disordered Breathing.

The Effects of Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

Ah, I’ve heard of this, it makes you tired right? – so, if you’re not tired, fall asleep immediately that your head hits the pillow and then sleep deeply “like a log”- you’re OK? No. 

Man snoring, woman holding a pillow over her head

It makes you tired right – so, if you’re not tired and sleep well, you’re OK? No. What if you sleep “like a log”? No. What if you don’t snore? No. What if you’re a slim, athletic woman who sleeps well and doesn’t snore? No, sorry, you could still be affected.

The Effects of Sleep Disordered Breathing

There are at least some pointers, but just like most tests, you shouldn’t rely on just one of them alone. Could there be due to something else involved – yes but this is sufficiently important for you to at least review for your own safety.

The clearest indication is witnessed apnea (or stopping breathing followed by gasping) during sleep.

It doesn’t seem to bother me, why worry?

Any of the above and other signs and symptoms can be caused in part or completely by this disease. It increases the chance of a car accident (up to seven times even if you have only moderate level of OSA.

If you want the best quality of life (and best longevity) it’s a good idea to be aware of this very common, and potentially fatal disease and to manage it just as would plan to manage diabetes.

The problem with sleep disordered breathing is this;

When you can’t get air into your lungs several things happen as in actual fact you’re being suffocated. The body fights to correct it but sometimes adds other problems in so doing.

No oxygen to the lungs means no (or less) oxygen to the blood and therefore tissues including the brain which requires approximately 20% of the body’s oxygen requirements, when you’re asleep!

The other tissues and body organs also require oxygenation as sleep is considered to provide (amongst other things) rejuvenation. Lack of oxygen is called Hypoxia, and this is what the sufferer experiences, it’s measured as desaturation.

Normally around 95-97% during sleep, it becomes more significant below 90%.

Sleep deprivation follows repeated awakenings during episodes of apnea (stopping breathing), even if you’re not aware of them (don’t wake into consciousness). You are unable to achieve normal sleep patterns and without this the sufferer experiences sleep deprivation which may or may not be apparent.

If snoring is a factor the sleep privation can certainly often be seen in the bed partner too as they’ll be quick to point out.

There is tremendous pressure exerted on the chest cavity (containing heart, lungs and great vessels, etc.) as the diaphragm drops to unsuccessfully pull in the air from the outside. This is believed to be a factor in the development and worsening of atrial fibrillation.

Oxidative stress takes place and inflammatory markers in the blood increase. Oxidative stress is considered an “aging factor” inflammatory markers a sign of systemic disease. There are known relationships to certain cancers and it is believed that this is partially due to oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is a significant factor in ageing. While taking anti-oxidants is encouraged, ignoring such a potent cause of ageing makes no sense.

Adrenaline overload. Last but certainly not the least on this list, is the burst of adrenaline released in order to “shock” the sufferer from their sleep (and co-incident suffocation) into consciousness and the ability to breathe.

Adrenalin release causes  the “fight or flight” response, just like a serious fright or shock like a near miss in a car.

The sufferer may be experiencing upwards of 10 , 20 or even more of these, every single hour, imagine that nightmare journey home with 10, 20 or more near misses that are only just avoided!

How would you feel when you got home?

So clearly one should know a little about something so common, that may be impacting us significantly, and that many of our healthcare providers are missing. Investigation should at least be considered by those wanting their best, healthiest and longest life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *