Sleep apnea is a condition that disrupted your breathing while you sleep. Depending on the type of sleep apnea and its severity, it can have lasting effects. This condition is more common than you may realize. Familiarizing yourself with it could help you or a loved one in the future.
1. Many people don’t realize that have it.
Sleep apnea can easily go undiagnosed. According to sleepapnea.org, about 22 million Americans have sleep apnea and 80% go undiagnosed. With about 24% of men suffering from the condition and 9% of women, it is more common than most realize. If you think you may have any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, come into our offices and we’ll work through it with you.
2. It can lead to other serious complications.
When left untreated, sleep apnea can be very dangerous and even life-threatening. It can lead to other complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes, an irregular heartbeat, heart failure, a heart attack, a stroke, or other conditions. It can also increase your risk of developing depression. In fact, many people will not realize they have sleep apnea because they mistake it for depression when in reality the two can go hand in hand. Because sleep apnea can also mean loud snoring, it may be affecting your partner and their sleep as well.
3. It can be treated.
There are several treatment options for sleep apnea. Some simple lifestyle changes may be the answer. A CPAP—or continuous positive airflow pressure—mask can also help. These masks can help those with moderate to severe sleep apnea breathe a little easier through the night as it will keep airway passage open. Other options include mouthpieces and certain types of surgery for a more permanent solution.
4. Middle-aged men are the most affected.
Sleep apnea is much more common in men than in women. It is most common in middle-aged, overweight men. Women can also develop sleep apnea and are much more likely to do so after they have reached menopause.
5. Snoring is a symptom but not the only one.
Though it is often the easiest symptom to recognize, loud snoring is not the only sign of sleep apnea. Other signs include feeling excessively sleepy, falling asleep during the day, waking up in the night, choking or gasping sounds, dry mouth, mood swings, trouble focusing, and morning headaches. Not all snorers have sleep apnea.
6. Obesity is a risk factor.
Multiple medical conditions can trigger sleep apnea, including obesity. Though it’s not the case for everyone dealing with sleep apnea, a majority of people who suffer from it are overweight. Dropping some pounds can ease symptoms.
7. There are multiple types of sleep apnea.
Did you know that there are different types of sleep apnea? For example, there is obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, happens when the muscles in your throat are obstructed during sleep. The other main kind is central sleep apnea which occurs when your brain and muscles have a disconnect.