Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing is affected during sleep. It is quite possible that you experience a sudden halt to your breathing for a short amount of time during sleep. But does it worsen over time, if you neglect treatments or avoid sleep clinics for too long? Let’s find out!
It Can Worsen If You Neglect The Symptoms
With any disorder, whether it is a physical or sleeping disorder, if you keep neglecting treatment for it, it will worsen over time. The same goes for sleep apnea. Your airways can block under pressure and it can make you stop breathing for a brief period. From the looks of it, it doesn’t look very scary or dangerous, but prolonged stopping of breathing can lead to unconsciousness and can stop the supply of oxygen to your brain. You might also wake up feeling hysterical and desperate for breath. This might not be something you want to wake up to.
Over time, the airways can become even weaker and the blocking or collapse of the bronchial tubes can occur more frequently, which indirectly means that you will be unable to breathe, which is quite a scary thing, if you think about it. So, before it gets worse, try to get treatment for your sleep apnea as soon as you can. Don’t wait for the symptoms to become worse.
What Does Science Say?
A lot of researchers have conducted studies to prove that sleep apnea does worsen over time. In the United States of America, there have been many studies conducted on people, ranging from the age of 35 to 55 years old, including both males and females suffering from sleep apnea or obstructive sleeping disorder. It was found that people who are aged and old, tend to have more problems associated with sleep apnea than people who are younger. Older people tend to be more susceptible to sleep apnea and intensified symptoms, because of their weaker immune systems, anatomy and physiological issues.
Get Treatment Right Away
This tip should go without saying. Getting treatment for sleep apnea is very important if you want the sleep disorder to subside over time. The treatment for sleep apnea usually involves the use of a CPAP machine and a mask when you sleep. The CPAP machine helps to regulate the pressure inside your airways so that they don’t collapse under pressure, hence providing a clear passage for air to go in and out of your lungs. All you have to do is put the mask on before sleeping and call it a night. It is not uncomfortable to wear and it gives you a good night’s rest too.
Why Does Sleep Apnea Get Worse Over Time?
With time, you age, and with age, comes a lot of bodily and anatomical changes. Your muscles tend to become more stiff, your mobility is reduced, your immune system becomes weaker, etc. With sleep apnea, the condition can worsen because the muscles in your neck become very stiff and can collapse easily under a change in pressure. Stiff muscles will find it hard to compensate themselves in a situation where the pressure in your airways suddenly change, which is why the airways can collapse or get blocked more easily and you will find yourself losing breath a lot, as you age.
Things That Make Sleep Apnea Worse
Some things that make your sleep apnea worse include:
- Your sleeping position matters a lot especially if you sleep in an eccentric position where your head is not elevated from the rest of your body.
- Alcohol consumption stimulates your muscles from the inside and makes them stiff and rigid. This causes them to collapse or block easily under change of pressure.
- Menopause in women causes increased risk of sleep apnea, because of the halt of production of progesterone and estrogen. These hormones help to keep the airways open and unobstructed.
There you go! Sleep apnea can be very dangerous and uncomfortable to live with, if the symptoms increase over time and you keep neglecting treatment for it. It’s best to treat the disorder right away, before things get way too out of hand. Select a reliable sleep apnea doctor and then follow their advice for your own good.