How much do you really know about Sleep Apnea? The average person would say those who suffer with sleep apnea are chronic snorers, overweight, middle-aged, and male. Well YES that is true, but what else do you know about sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing throughout the sleep cycle. These interruptions are called Apneas, caused by the collapse of soft tissue in the throat, preventing air from reaching the lungs.
1. Sleep Apnea is NOT just characterized by snoring. Yes, snoring is a characteristic of sleep apnea, but it does not define it. You may notice you are restless, you wake up feeling exhausted, foggy, unable to keep focused on daily tasks, and your memory may be weak. These are all signs pointing to a positive diagnosis.
2. Men are NOT the only people affected. Women are just as likely to be affected in their menopausal age as men. Only problem is, the majority of women are misdiagnosed because the symptoms in women are different than the stereotypical symptoms you would find in males.
3. Alcohol has a worsening effect on those diagnosed (or undiagnosed) with sleep apnea. Alcohol increases length of “apneas”, or the time between when you stop breathing and start breathing again, increasing the severity of your OSA. Your oxygen levels drop (also known as desaturation), which leads to increased carbon dioxide in the body (known as Hypercapnia) which can be fatal.
4. Sleep and car accidents are linked. One of the most common risks of sleep apnea is a car accident. Those with untreated sleep apnea show signs and symptoms of drowsiness, groggy, and decreased reaction time. When put behind the wheel of a car you are putting yourself and others at risk. The possibility of you A. falling asleep, or B. delayed reaction time, and causing an accident is exponentially higher than a person who doesn’t have sleep apnea.
5. Sleep apnea can lead to serious health complications for you if it is not properly treated. Risks can include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and death. Don’t risk leaving your sleep apnea untreated, you are putting yourself and others at risk.
Do you have sleep apnea? Or do you believe your partner could have it? We encourage you to pop into one of your local Snore MD clinics and talk to one of our highly skilled Dream Team Members!