As we sleep, our bodies go through many cycles that are important for us to feel well rested and energized for each new day. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you may be missing out on these critical stages, causing you to wake up feeling less-than-rested. Sleep apnea prevents a deep and continual sleep because breathing and sleeping cycles (like REM) are constantly interrupted, sometimes hundreds of times per night. This lack of full-cycle sleep can have potentially dangerous effects.
- Indications of sleep apnea
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you’re not alone. Studies show as many as 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Most of the people affected are overweight men over 40.
While that number may seem staggering, estimates show that something like 80% of cases are undiagnosed. Some indications of obstructive and central sleep apnea include:
- Choking due to shortness of breath.
- Pauses in breathing during sleep.
- Chronic snoring caused by relaxed throat muscles obstructing air passages.
- Sore throat or dry mouth.
- What sleep apnea can cause
Sleep apnea can cause a myriad of health problems, putting your health at risk. Some of these include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Abnormal liver function
- Weight gain
Any of the above reasons should be reason enough to seek help for your sleep apnea. But the list is far from definitive.
- Studies show treatment is beneficial
A recent study done by the American Academy of Neurology suggested that those with sleep apnea developed MCI (mild cognitive impairment) a whopping 10 years earlier than those who didn’t suffer from sleep apnea. Also, those in the study developed Alzheimer’s disease 5 years earlier than those who didn’t have problems sleeping.
In the same study, those who were treated for sleep apnea (most of them using a CPAP machine) were diagnosed with MCI 10 years later as opposed to those who got no treatment. That means that those who were treated for sleep apnea weren’t diagnosed with MCI until around the time that those without a sleep disorder were. While it still has yet to be determined if a CPAP machine helps to prevent or delay thinking and memory problems, it does say a lot for those who seek treatment.
- Treatments available
Some of the most common treatment options available include a Positive Airway Pressure machine, avoiding sleeping on one’s back, and losing weight.
Topics: Sleep Apnea