The Surprising Link Between Sleep Apnea and Red Blood Cell Count

More and more information is becoming readily available to the public regarding the dangers of untreated obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. From grogginess to weight gain, and high blood pressure to memory loss, OSA comes with many life-threatening side effects. One of the most recent discoveries of OSA, however, is proving just how deadly this disease can be if left untreated.

Too Many Red Blood Cells

There appears to be a relationship between sleep disorders and a heightened amount of red blood cells in the body. According to Sleep Review Magazine, elevated red blood cell count, or a high hematocrit is an indicator of a lack of oxygen in a person’s body. In response to these low oxygen rates, the body creates more red blood cells (polycythemia ) to “carry more oxygen to account for the shortage.”

Dr. Joseph Ojile explains

“Those with elevated hematocrit have an increased risk for blood clots, vascular injury, and fatigue, all of which increase as the hematocrit level rises.”

Because a major factor in sleep apnea is lack of oxygen, Dr. Ojile stresses the importance of sleep tests for those who are shown to have high red blood cell count. Sleep tests are used to determine whether a person has sleep apnea.

Treat Sleep Apnea, Lower Red Blood Cell Count

Individuals suffering from untreated OSA stop breathing many times per night, with severe cases of upwards 100 times in one night. Once a person is identified as suffering from OSA, CPAP therapy is often prescribed as a means to treat the sleep apnea.

A CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, prevents the airway from collapsing by providing continuous air pressure. By keeping the airway open, the user not only gets a better night’s sleep, but red blood cell counts are stabilized.

Senior putting on compression socks
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If you have been diagnosed with a high hematocrit, Aeroflow Healthcare can provide you with an at-home sleep test so you can be screened for sleep apnea in the comfort of your own home. Aeroflow Healthcare can also provide you with the necessary equipment if your healthcare provider prescribes you CPAP therapy as the treatment for your OSA.

Aeroflow can also help you see if you qualify for your CPAP at little-to-no cost through your insurance. Simply complete our Qualify Through Insurance form and let our Patient Care Representatives take care of the rest. We will work with your doctor to get your prescription, verify your insurance, and will contact you within 3-5 business days to discuss your coverage and equipment options.

Being diagnosed with sleep apnea can be a frightening experience. If you have questions about sleep apnea or CPAP therapy, give Aeroflow a call today at 888.345.1780; we’re here to help!

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