Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes breathing to stop and start repeatedly when sleeping. If you’re a frequent, loud snorer and you feel tired the next day after sleeping through the night, you may be one of 18 million sleep apnea sufferers in the US. While it’s true that snoring is one of the primary symptoms of the condition, not every person who has sleep apnea is a snorer. Conversely, not every snorer has sleep apnea.
The problem is that you might not even realize that you have sleep apnea until your partner or spouse tells you about your snoring and the intermittent episodes of a few seconds when you stop breathing. Yes, that is the scary part about sleep apnea. You stop breathing and then with a long gasp you start breathing again. These episodes continue all through the night. However, that keeps disrupting your sleep and you wake up without proper rest. That in turn affects your behavior, productivity at work and your health too. A solution that will help you sleep better and control snoring is important.
Sleep Apnea Statistics
The most common form of sleep apnea is OSA or obstructive sleep apnea (see below). This form of disorder causes interruptions to your breathing multiple times during the night when soft tissue blocks your airway. OSA can have serious side effects ranging from excessive daytime sleepiness to potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Here are 6 interesting statistics about sleep apnea to be aware of:
· 1 out of every 15 American adults (18 million) has OSA, 80% of which have not been diagnosed with the disorder.
· Individuals who suffer from the disorder can have up to 30 or more interruptions in their breathing per hour throughout the night.
· Sleep apnea elevates the risk of getting into a motor vehicle accident; there are nearly 100,000 accidents per year that are attributed to driving while drowsy or fatigued, 10% of which involve fatalities.
· Sleep apnea multiplies the risk of stroke by 4 times. Furthermore, individuals who have the disorder are 3 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
· Studies conducted by the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research over 38,000 individuals die annually from sleep apnea-related cardiovascular issues.
· The most common causes of the condition include being overweight, genetics, a narrow airway, and smoking. Other contributing factors include age, certain medications, and drinking alcohol.
It’s important to recognize these causes as well as the symptoms of sleep apnea. These include dry mouth and throat, inability to concentrate, irritability, morning headaches, and sleepiness throughout the day. If you have been experiencing any of these signs along with heavy snoring, it is time to consult with a health care professional.
What are the Different Types of Sleep Apnea?
Most individuals are unaware that there are 3 different types of sleep apnea – central sleep apnea, complex sleep apnea syndrome, and obstructive sleep apnea. Here is how they differ:
· Obstructive sleep apnea – this is the most common type of sleep apnea which happens due to over relaxed throat muscles
· Central sleep apnea – This happens when your brain doesn’t properly signal the muscles that control a person’s breathing
· Complex sleep apnea syndrome – also referred to as “treatment-emergent central sleep apnea”, and it happens when an individual has both and obstructive and central sleep apnea
If you suspect that you might have this disorder, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Treating sleep apnea will alleviate your symptoms and prevent heart issues and other problems. It is important to stay healthy and ignoring any such issues is detrimental to your health.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
The symptoms and warning signs of central and obstructive sleep apnea are quite similar and that is what makes diagnosing the type of apnea you have difficult. The most common signs and symptoms include:
· difficulties concentrating
· breathing interruptions in episodes during sleep
· gasping for air when sleeping
· hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness)
· insomnia (difficulties staying asleep)
· loud snoring
· morning headaches
· waking up with a dry mouth
If you have any or a combination of the above symptoms and warning signs, talk with your doctor as soon as possible before more serious problems develop.
Is there a Treatment for Sleep Apnea?
Roughly 1/3 of all Americans fail to get a good night’s sleep (at least 7 hours per night). This can potentially cause some major health issues such as depression, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Fortunately, the following treatments are available for those who suffer from the disorder:
· ASV – adapto servo-ventilation machines adapt and adjust the airflow according to your breathing. Also referred to as variable positive airway pressure, the VPAP™ machine provides two variable levels of air pressure.
· BiPAP or BPAP – the bi-level positive airway pressure machine provides a stream of air in much the same way as a CPAP machine with one exception. It emits less air when exhaling.
· CPAP – continuous positive airway pressure is the most common treatment method for sleep apnea. The machine pushes a continuous stream of air through a face mask that is worn while sleeping and helps keep your airway open.
· MAD’s – mandibular advancement devices are oral appliances that are designed to push the jaw forward and keep your airway open while others keep your tongue from sliding back towards your throat.
In addition to the above machines and devices such as chin straps and mouth guards, there are nasal sprays that have been clinically proven to effectively remove the cause of snoring. Asonor anti-snoring solution lubricates and softens the tissues of the mucous membrane while lightly tightening the throat muscles so breathing isn’t disturbed. This helps you and your partner get a good night’s sleep which is important for you and your loved one’s health and productivity at work.