Sleep Apnea 101

The term sleep apnea is unfortunately becoming a household name for many people in the United States. It is estimated that 18 million Americans suffer from this sleep disorder, having men are among the majority group. Being overweight and over 40 are considerable risk factors of sleep disorder apnea. But it has been reported that children may suffer from this disease as well.

What is sleep apnea and why is it considered risky?

First, let’s explain what the term means, apnea is a Greek word that means without breath. Sleep apnea consists of the blockage of breathing can take place for interval of 10 to 30 seconds during sleep, even one minute in extreme cases.

These breathing stops may occur up to 20 to 30 times or more an hour during one single night, which means a lot of time for your brain without oxygen that makes your heart pump much harder.

Of course, your body reacts and may even wake up abruptly at the deep sleep phase which results in a very low sleep quality for the sleep apnea sufferer and its respective consequences.
There are three types of sleep apnea:

- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): The most common of the three. Nasal obstruction is produced when the back part of the throat gets block during sleep time.

- Central Sleep Apnea: In this case, the airways do not get blocked; it is a brain failure to send the muscles the commands to breathe.

- Mixed Sleep Apnea: As it names says, it is the mix of the two above. The brain is impelled to carry over with breathing, but this result in sleep disruption.

The biggest challenge to reduce the big number of cases is the lack of information on sleep apnea among sufferers, which does nothing but keeping the large number of cases that remain untreated, despite of the serious consequences this condition can have in a person’s entire lifestyle.

Sleep apnea side effects

-    Chronic fatigue
-    Memory loss
-    Concentration difficulty
-    High blood pressure
-    Cardiovascular disease
-    Headaches
-    Erectile dysfunction
-    Weight gain
-    Stress
-    Suffocation
-    Sore throat or dryness

That annoying snoring….can be a sign

Let’s clear this out: Sleep apnea sufferers are usually snorers as well, but not every snorer is a sleep apnea sufferer too.

The problem is that most sleepers with sleep apnea do not realize they snore too, except for the complaints of their loved-ones.

Beware of this, early sleep apnea diagnosis can prevent it gets worse and result in severe complications as high blood pressure, a heart attack or even a stroke.

Likewise, it can increase the risk of diabetes and the chances of having car accidents (sleep deprivation) or any type of mishap.