The word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” There are three types of apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. Central sleep apnea is caused by a blockage in the airway. However, in central sleep apnea, the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. Mixed sleep apnea, as the name implies, is a combination of the two. With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for them to resume breathing, but consequently sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality.
When left untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, weight gain, memory problems, impotency and headaches. Untreated sleep apnea may also cause job impairment and vehicle accidents. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Both medical and surgical options are available.
- Approximately 42 million American adults suffer from sleep-disorderd breathing (SDB)
- 1 in 5 adults has mild OSA
- 1 in 15 has moderate to severe OSA (75% of severe SDB cases remain undiagnosed)
- 9% of middle-aged women suffer from OSA
- 25% of middle-aged men suffer from OSA
- According to research conducted at the University of California – San Diego, African Americans have a higher risk of obstructive sleep apnea than Caucasians.
- If you have sleep apnea, you tend to be more sleepy and lack concentration. As a result, your chances of being in a car accident increase and you are 6x more likely to die in a car accident. People who drive sleepy are responsible for 100,000 car accidents, 40,000 injuries, and 1,550 deaths annually.
- Over a quarter of a million children have tonsillectomies each year and most undergo these operations because their tonsils cause an obstruction of the airway which, in turn, cause sleep apnea.
- Bed mates of people suffering from sleep apnea lose up to one hour of sleep nightly.
- If you think you have sleep apnea, see a sleep specialist right away. The consequences of leaving it untreated can be dire in that your chances of stroke are 4x greater than those who do not have sleep apnea, and 3x greater to have heart disease than those who do not have sleep apnea.
- The average OSA sufferer can experience 400 apneas nightly. Apnea means “without breath.”
- Approximately 50% of hospital patients with hypertension also have sleep apnea.
- Approximately 50% of those with sleep apnea suffer from hypertension.
- Approximately 38,000 annual cardiovascular deaths (high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, etc.) are related to sleep apnea.
You Are At A Higher Risk For Sleep Apnea If You Are:
- Obese (BMI >30)
- Diagnosed with hypertension
- Use alcohol or sedatives excessively
- Have upper airway or facial abnormalities
- Have a family history of OSA
- Have a large neck circumference (>17” men; >16” women)
- Suffer from endocrine and metabolic disorders