Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), you are not alone! OSA afflicts over 17 million people in the United States. Also referred to as sleep apnea, OSA is a serious medical condition that should not be ignored.
Several easy-to-recognize symptoms of sleep apnea include:
• Excessive daytime sleepiness
• Loud snoring
• Gasping for air during sleep
• Falling asleep while driving
• Falling asleep during the day
• Morning headaches
• Loss of energy
• Trouble concentrating
When a person falls asleep, the muscles that keep the airway open relax. With sleep apnea, this relaxation results in a narrowing or obstruction of the airway, which limits a person's ability to breathe. When this occurs, oxygen levels in the blood begin to drop, causing the person to wake. Waking frequently limits the quality of sleep, and is one reason why people with OSA can be so tired during the day.
Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition that should not go untreated. One study demonstrates a greater than six-fold increase in the death rate for patients with untreated OSA, compared to those who received surgical treatment. Another study demonstrates that risk of death for all untreated sufferers with severe sleep apnea is nearly four times that for people without sleep apnea.
Risk of Death after 5 Years (%)
Marti S, et. al. Mortality in severe sleep apnoea/hypopnea syndrome patients: impact of treatment. European Respiratory Journal, 2002, 2Q, 1511-1518.
Young T, et.al. Sleep disordered breathing and mortality: eighteen-year follow-up of the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study. SLEEP, 2008.
American Sleep Apnea Association
National Institutes of Health, National Center on Sleep Disorders Research
National Sleep Foundation
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
American Sleep Association
Sleep Apnea Support Forum
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