What is Sleep Apnea?
If you snore, you might have a common sleeping disorder called sleep apnea, also known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
If you have OSA, it means your upper airway temporarily closes while you sleep, causing you to stop breathing. These periods when your breathing stops (called apnea) last for at least ten seconds and may happen up to several hundred times a night.
This puts a strain on your body, raising blood pressure and reducing your quality of sleep. These repeated apneas reduce your oxygen levels, and this alerts your brain to wake the body to begin breathing again.
You are unlikely to remember this happening but you may feel tired the following day. You may be aware that you have restless sleep or that you wake up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.
Understanding Sleep Disordered Breathing
Symptoms from lack of sleep are often what prompt people with sleep apnea to visit their doctor. These may include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Poor concentration
- Poor memory
Getting diagnosed and effectively treated is important to reduce risks and improve quality of life.
Who is at risk ?
Treating sleep apnea can reduce the risk of developing associated diseases. It can also help you feel more energetic so you can do more of the things you want to.
There are some clear risk factors for the development of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA):
- male gender
- increasing age (up to 65)
- family history
- anatomical abnormalities
You should visit your doctor to discuss your risk of sleep apnea if you have one of the following condtions .
Left untreated, your sleep apnea may be a risk factor to:
Type 2 Diabetes - more than 7 out of 10 people with Type 2 Diabetes have sleep apnea1
High blood pressure - more than 3 out of 10 people with sleep apnea have high blood pressure2
- Stroke - 7 out of 10 people who have had a stroke have sleep apnea3
Heart failure - up to 7 out of 10 people with chronic heart failure have sleep apnea4
1. Einhorn D., Stewart D et. al. Endocrine Practice 2007
2. Worsnop et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1998
3. Logan et al. J. Hypertension. 2001
4. Ferreira S, et al. BMC Pulm Medicine 2010