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Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

Does your significant other tell you that it sounds like a train roaring through the bedroom when you snore? Do they sometimes sleep in another bedroom or move to the couch? Do you wake up in the morning with your mouth parched and wide open? 

You may have undiagnosed sleep apnea. And we at Turnquest Surgical Solutions can help. Our experienced surgeons, Dexter Turnquest, MD, and Victoria Chang, MD, offer several surgical solutions to enable you to breathe freely again.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when your airway is blocked while you’re asleep. Blood flow to your brain and arteries is disrupted, so you don’t get enough oxygen. You may not take a breath for as long as 10 seconds at a time. 

Other parts of your body respond to avert a complete shutdown of oxygen. Your chest muscles and diaphragm work overtime to push open your airway. Your body may jerk from the exertion of trying to get enough oxygen. You may start choking and gasping for breath. 

If your sleep apnea is severe, you may awaken several hundred times during the night. You’re not getting the deep sleep you need to function during the day.   

Why is sleep apnea dangerous if untreated? 

Sleep apnea is associated with major health complications if untreated. Here are some of the risks you face from sleep apnea. 

Heart attack, stroke, and afib 

You’re more at risk of a heart attack, stroke, or afib if you have untreated sleep apnea. Why? You don't have normal blood flow to your arteries when you have sleep apnea.  

Type 2 diabetes

Up to 80% of people with Type 2 diabetes have obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of the condition. When your breathing stops for several seconds at a time many times during the night, the carbon dioxide levels in your blood increase. That leads to insulin resistance. 

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that together increase your risk of major health complications such as heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. If you have three or more of the following risk factors, you have metabolic syndrome: 

Car accidents 

You have five times the risk of a vehicle accident compared to those who don’t have sleep apnea. You’re much more likely to fall asleep while driving. 


Lack of sleep can affect mood. Research confirms that sleep apnea can produce symptoms of depression. 

Affect on relationships 

If you’re tired all the time during the day, you’re likely to be grumpy and irritable with your loved ones. You may start skipping activities that once brought you joy as malaise overtakes you from lack of restful sleep. 

Treatment for sleep apnea

If a CPAP machine doesn’t work for you, we work with you on several fronts. Since sleep apnea is highly correlated with obesity, we work with you on a weight loss plan if you are overweight. 

If you cannot lose weight this way, we offer surgical weight loss. You’re likely to see a huge improvement in sleep apnea after weight loss surgery. We can also enlarge your airway by performing a tonsillectomy, which may help you breathe better at night. Ask us about other surgical solutions.

Call us or book an appointment online today for help treating your sleep apnea. We have two Houston, Texas, locations.

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