Risks of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical problem that is most commonly associated with snoring. Those with OSA often snore loudly, and then not at all as their breathing stops. The airways are blocked when the muscles and soft tissues near and around the throat collapse, and breathing cannot begin again until the brain rouses the person, who will partially wake with a gasp or choke.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
About ten percent of men and nearly five percent of women are believed to suffer from OSA, but because symptoms occur during sleep, many of them are not aware that they have a problem. Symptoms can often go unnoticed or mimic other issues.
Symptoms often include:
• Frequently feeling tired or sleepy during the daytime
• Breathing cessation during sleep
• High blood pressure
• Having a BMI greater than 28
Your risk of OSA may be higher if you smoke, drink heavily, are over forty, or are male. Your risk may also be higher if you have a neck size of sixteen inches or more as a woman, and seventeen inches or more as a man.
Health Consequences of Sleep Apnea
Each time you stop breathing in your sleep, your brain and body are starved for oxygen. This puts a strain on your cardiovascular system. An estimated 40,000 Americans die annually, or one hundred people every day, due to complications from untreated OSA. OSA sufferers are three times more likely to suffer from heart disease and four times more likely to have a stroke than those who do not have sleep disorders. OSA has also been associated with high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and car accidents. Untreated OSA can significantly affect your life and can lead to a premature death.
Treatment is available and can help reduce the associated risks. Call us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Radfar.