Sleep apnea is more than a sleeping disorder. It’s a disruption of your body’s vital mechanisms of sleep and breathing. This creates a cascade of health effects that leaves essentially no part of the body untouched and can spawn numerous related conditions.
However, the flip side is also true in some cases: sleep apnea treatment can also help resolve many conditions. In fact, many conditions that you may receive a prescription for may resolve as well (or better) following sleep apnea treatment. Here are some of the prescription drugs you may be able to avoid if you get your sleep apnea successfully treated.
Antidepressants are possibly one of the most overprescribed drugs in the US. The amount of American adults taking antidepressants over the last fifteen years has nearly doubled, with more than 13% of Americans taking them.
But for many people, depression may not be the problem. Sleep apnea can have symptoms very similar to depression, and can be misdiagnosed. Although antidepressants work little better than placebos, sleep apnea treatment may resolve depression in up to 96% of sufferers.
Blood Pressure Medication
Blood pressure medications are also among the most prescribed medications in the US. Hypertension affects nearly one in three American adults, and in many cases, these people are also suffering from sleep apnea.
Although there are many different drugs available for high blood pressure, including diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and beta blockers, many people don’t respond to the medications. They have what is known as drug-resistant hypertension. For many people, sleep apnea plays a significant role in drug-resistant hypertension. Treating sleep apnea can help control blood pressure, even for people who don’t respond to drugs.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs are very popular drugs because erectile dysfunction rates are increasing. This is partly related to obesity (more on obesity later), partly related to cardiovascular problems, and partly related to sleep apnea.
More than two-thirds of men with sleep apnea have ED. Fortunately, treating sleep apnea can resolve ED.
Weight Loss Drugs
Weight loss drugs aren’t the usual approach to treating obesity. But for people who are having difficulty losing weight, they are sometimes recommended.
But for many people, difficulty losing weight could be related to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea disrupts many of the body’s hormones, including those related to energy use and storage. This hormonal disruption can be the reason why people have difficulty losing weight, even if they are dieting and exercising. Treating sleep apnea can help restore hormonal balance, which can support your weight loss efforts.
Before Taking Medications
One of the complaints leveled at the US medical system is that it’s too eager to give patients a pill and expect them to improve. That’s part of the reason why about 60% of American adults are taking at least one prescription medication. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s important for people to be aware that other treatment options exist and ask their doctor about these options.