Many people suffer from severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) without knowing it. Interestingly, some people still don’t agree they are victims of the sleeping disorder even when they experience the symptoms daily.
Amazingly, people are being diagnosed with sleep apnea in tons. Yet, after a simple check in the test room, they know that treating sleep apnea will solve their difficulties in sleeping at night.
It is good to go for a diagnosis on time because undiagnosed sleep apnea can result in severe health complications like high blood pressure, reduction in blood oxygen levels, daytime fatigue, diabetes, loss of memory, obesity, and can even birth to other sleep disorders like insomnia, a syndrome that makes it difficult for people to fall asleep.
Many people are not aware of the symptoms and effects of sleep apnea. And that’s why we see cases of severe sleep apnea everywhere, including educational centers, offices, and even homes.
Once you begin to notice some changes in your sleep or your bed partner begins to complain about how you snore loudly when sleeping, the best thing is to visit the nearest sleep laboratory for a detailed sleep study or talk to a sleep specialist to come and conduct home sleep apnea testing for you.
We deem it necessary to help Aussies learn essential facts about sleep apnea. That way, it will be easier to prevent sleep apnea or identify the sleep disorder at the mild stage before it gets worse.
This article contains six amazing facts you probably have not heard about sleep apnea. However, it is crucial to understand the subject matter before diving into details.
Understanding the Concept of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is known to be a severe sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep. A blockage in the airways causes people to open their mouths to get the much-needed oxygen when sleeping.
Warning signs include loud snoring, coughing, gasping, or choking sounds as you sleep. In addition, it may lead to having nightmares at the earlier stage of sleep.
Estimates suggest that people struggle with either obstructive or central sleep apnea. Worldwide, sleep apnea may affect almost one billion people. However, sleep apnea can affect anybody, even healthcare professionals.
No doubt, sleep apnea will impact your life in one way or another. Whether at the mild or severe level, it will cause a significant change in your daily activities. It may affect your academics, job, friends, bed partner, or another family member. There are several facts you need to understand about sleep apnea symptoms.
Here are six amazing facts about sleep apnea you to always keep in mind.
6 Amazing Facts About Sleep Apnea
1. There are two main types of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea indeed occurs when there is a blockage in the airways when sleeping. But many people know that sleeping disorders happen in two main types: central and obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two types. It occurs when the throat muscles relax during sleep, causing the soft tissues supporting the throat to collapse and block the airway.
Mild sleep apnea may still allow you to breathe at intervals, while severe sleep obstructive apnea may permanently block your breathing passages. People struggling with severe obstructive sleep apnea may find breathing difficult even when active.
Central sleep apnea occurs in people due to instability in the brain, causing a blockage in the breathing control system. Central sleep apnea is the reason the body can stop breathing during sleep.
2. Sleep apnea can occur at any age
Everyone can be a patient of sleep apnea regardless the age. Although it is mainly found in adults, countless children have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, even as infants.
Have you seen a child placed on continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine? That’s evidence. Both young and old folks can begin to experience difficulty breathing at any stage in life due to some natural or artificial circumstances.
Central sleep apnea can occur in infants. It may be a developmental problem or the result of another medical condition. More common is pediatric obstructive sleep apnea. In children, sleep apnea is often caused by large tonsils and adenoids that block the airway during sleep.
3. Sleep apnea increases with age
Did you know that sleep apnea can go from mild to severe? That should be one of your latest discoveries. In addition, we just discussed that children might also experience the symptoms of sleep apnea, but it can get worse as they grow older.
Older people with sleep apnea may experience more health complications as the sleep disorder may damage several organs. As a matter of fact, older sleep apnea patients may live with difficulty falling asleep for the rest of their days.
That might not be good because we can stop aging. However, getting older will continue to be a natural part of life until we discover the technology to prevent aging.
The fact that sleep apnea can increase with age suggests the need for urgent treatment immediately after we are diagnosed. It also means that women are likely to have mild obstructive sleep apnea after menopause. The severity of sleep apnea also tends to progress slowly over time. Although the symptoms of sleep apnea may become less severe around 65 years, one can still develop it later in life.
4. Sleep apnea is usually undiagnosed
One surprising fact about sleep apnea is that many people have struggled with the sleeping disorder without even knowing it.
Research shows that about 23.5 million adults in Australia with sleep apnea remain undiagnosed. Amusingly, many people don’t know that loud snoring and mouth opening during sleep are warning signs for sleep apnea disorder. Thus, they continue in those acts without any attempt to get treatment.
A recent study proved that women tend to underreport snoring and underestimate its loudness. Women also may be more likely than men to report symptoms such as fatigue or insomnia.
Undiagnosed sleep apnea leads to sleep-disordered breathing, which causes people to rely only on CPAP machines and other airway pressure devices to get good sleep.
How quickly you treat your sleep apnea depends on your knowledge of the dangers attached. People with sleep apnea need to take bold steps to get their sleep apnea treated.
5. Untreated sleep apnea can affect your overall health
It is risky to ignore obstructive sleep apnea for a long time. From an expert point of view, it is best to go for moderate sleep apnea treatment immediately after noticing changes in your breathing.
Sometimes you may stop breathing during sleep and wake up untimely. Mind you, sleep waking or restless sleep can result in an increased risk of health complications.
When you leave the symptoms of sleep apnea untreated, it may cause serious health complications. These problems may include high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, and depression.
Several treatment options exist to solve mild sleep apnea before it becomes a problem. These options can fix your damages throat muscles, clear your narrowed airway and save you from the side effects of sleeping pills.
6. Lifestyle changes can reduce sleep apnea severity
one of the most noteworthy risk factors for sleep apnea is excess body weight. Without a doubt, losing weight can help improve your breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea need to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. For some people, sleep apnea occurs while sleeping on their back. In that case, using positional therapy to promote side sleeping can help.
You can also explore other treatments, such as oral appliances, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, bilevel positive airway pressure therapy, and other airway pressure devices.
You can live a safe and productive life with sound sleep if you know how to read the early warning signs of sleep apnea and when to see your sleep specialist. Unfortunately, severe sleep apnea can abruptly affect your daily living if you don’t know how to handle it properly. But your healthcare provider can help you eliminate the symptoms and restore your normal sleep.
More to read: Preventing stuffs from getting into your CPAP masks