What Can Happen when Sleep Apnea is Untreated
This is the second of a three blog post series to promote the health of people who suffer from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder affecting a person’s breathing. The gold-standard in treatment is the use of a CPAP or BPAP machine at night. The previous post in this series covered the reasons why sleep apnea patients do not comply with their doctor’s prescribed treatment. This post will discuss the negative health and daily living effects of not adhering to treatment.
Sleep apnea, when untreated, has been found to be related to many negative outcomes. It can increase the risk of many health conditions. These include high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, irregular heartbeats, diabetes, depression and headaches. (1) Fatigue is likely and can lead to low energy, low performance at work and driving accidents. (2)
Car accidents caused by fatigue has become a big concern. It is estimated that 56,000 car accidents a year are caused by lack of sleep. (2) If sleep apnea patients are not using their CPAP/BPAP, it can cause them to fall asleep at the wheel and cause an accident.
It is important for health professionals to help sleep apnea patients find a mask that is comfortable and machine that they can afford. Patients will be more likely to adhere to their treatment, reducing the risk of car accidents and health problems.
- WebMD. Sleep Apnea. [Online] 2014. http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/sleep-apnea.
- Sleep disorders as a cause of motor vehicle collisions. M, Tulio de Mello, et al. 3, 2013, Int J Prev Med, Vol. 4. PCM3634162.
Laurie M. DeChello, MPH, CPH
Altra Service Professionals (ASP) does not provide medical advice. If you have questions about your illness or treatment, please contact your doctor.