Many past studies have shown that untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is linked to higher blood pressure, weight gain, and other medical conditions. However, new research is adding panic attacks, migraine headaches, and depression to this already extensive list of side effects.
According to an article from Tech Times, a research group studied individuals that had been diagnosed with sleep apnea during the years of 2000 – 2010. The researchers found that out of the 43,496 participants studied, 263, or almost 2%, of the patients were also diagnosed with panic disorder.
Sleep medicine specialist, Dr. Robert Rosenberg, also found a link between sleep apnea and migraine headaches. He cites many studies that indicate that obstructive sleep apnea can actually intensify and worsen migraines in individuals who are not treating their OSA. These studies also show that following treatment for sleep apnea, migraines in patients were reduced by 50%. Rosenberg attributes low oxygen and inflammation caused from sleep apnea as contributing factors in the relationship between migraines and sleep apnea.
Another surprising side effect of untreated sleep apnea is depression. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed 10,000 American adults and found that the likelihood of developing depression greatly increased when a participant was reported to have stopped breathing while sleep (sleep apnea). Anne Wheaton, lead author of the study, explains that “Cells need oxygen to perform whatever tasks there are for the brain to perform and if they’re not getting enough [oxygen], a person’s physical and mental health seem to suffer.”
Despite these incredible findings, almost 80% of individuals who are told they stop breathing throughout the night, do not seek treatment and go undiagnosed. Probably the biggest factor in not seeking treatment for sleep apnea, is the uncertainty of what to expect from a sleep study.
While some clinics and physicians offer overnight sleep testing, Aeroflow Healthcare has the option of at-home sleep tests for patients who do not want to obtain a sleep study referral through their doctor’s office. Aeroflow also provides patients with 24-hour customer service to answer any questions that may arise during the at-home sleep test. Once you have completed your study, you can simply ship your sleep test back to Aeroflow Healthcare and one of our trained sleep specialists will review the data and contact you to discuss results and treatment options.
The thought of sleep testing and a diagnosis of sleep apnea can be unsettling, however the consequences of untreated obstructive sleep apnea can be life threatening. Aeroflow Healthcare can help you easily find out whether you are suffering from OSA and can provide various treatment options, many of which may be covered through insurance.
Take control of your health and life and get tested for sleep apnea today.