But really…what is sleep apnea?
Apnea means literally without breath. Therefore sleep apnea means you are without breath while you are sleeping.
While there are three types: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea and mixed apnea, the result is the same: you wake up because your brain wants you to sleep. Sometimes you do this literally dozens of times per night. Consequently, your sleep is extremely fragmented and you are tired.
SA is very, very common. The NIH estimates it affects 12 million Americans. That’s a lot of people…and even so, when I sent someone in for a sleep study, they are often surprised.
Are you at risk? Perhaps. Risk factors include being male, overweight or obese and over the age of 40. But guess what…anyone can get it. In my practice…I see it mostly in women (but then I see more women than men).
The problem with sleep apnea is that it can cause cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension; memory impairment, weight gain, impotency and headaches. In addition, I’ve seen folks who have suffered heart attacks and strokes as well as have been involved in motor vehicle accidents.
Ask your health care provider about it. It is one of those things that most people don’t know they have…maybe even you. Find out if you have it and get it treated.
Further information can be found at:
American Sleep Apnea Association