As many as 12 million to 18 million American adults have untreated sleep apnea. Diagnosis and management can greatly enhance overall mood, health, disposition and productivity. Despite common misconceptions, anyone – regardless of gender, weight or fitness level – can develop obstructive sleep apnea, which is a a serious medical problem distinguished by cases of total or limited airway sleep impediment.
- Other diseases: Many people don’t realize that they’re in greater danger of developing sleep apnea if they already suffer from other common diseases. Seven in 10 Type 2 diabetics and 30 to 40 percent of adults with hypertension also have obstructive sleep apnea.
- Age and weight: Risk of sleep apnea increases between middle and older age and with the amount of excess body weight you carry.
- Habits: Smoking is another significant risk factor, as well as being a detriment to your overall health.
- Gender: Men have a greater likelihood of developing sleep apnea. However, menopause is a risk factor for sleep apnea in women.
- Family history: Risk of sleep apnea is also higher if family members have been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Watch for symptoms:
“Not everyone who snores has the disease,” said Dr. Brown. “However, when snoring is paired with choking, gasping or pauses in breathing during sleep, it’s a more likely indicator of sleep apnea.”
There are also several daytime warning signs. Morning headaches, excessive sleepiness, trouble concentrating, memory or learning problems, and general moodiness, irritability or depression can all signal sleep apnea.
Get evaluated and treated:
It’s critical that those exhibiting risk factors or symptoms of sleep apnea be evaluated by a board-certified sleep medicine physician right away.
“Once diagnosed, the recommended treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which provides a steady stream of air through a mask to gently keep your airway open – making it easier to breathe,” said Dr. Brown. “It’s estimated that CPAP therapy reduces the 10-year risk of heart attack by 49 percent and stroke by 31 percent.”
“Treating sleep apnea provides all the benefits of improved sleep, including improved memory and cognitive function,” said Dr. Brown. “Clinical evidence also shows that sleep apnea treatment lowers blood pressure – decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Left untreated, sleep apnea may have a serious impact on overall health, even increasing risk of death.”
Are you or someone you know struggling with restless sleep, snoring problems or potential sleep apnea, then we invite you to visit Sleep Apnea Temecula or Call us at (951) 695-6269 for a consultation.