According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, sleep apnea is a disorder that affects roughly 22 million Americans. Of that number, 80% of them suffer from a moderate to severe form of the sleep disorder. Despite this fact, this is a disease that not everyone is aware of and don’t necessarily understand how serious it can be. Not only can it damage your life, it can also shorten your lifespan. Here we’ll take a closer look at what sleep apnea is and what the negative health effects are.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is described as a sleep disorder that should be taken seriously. It can affect people of all ages, both male and female. With this disorder, the person will actually suffer from interruptions in their breathing while they sleep. These interruptions are small moments where they stop breathing. Without treatment the disorder can get worse and more and more interruptions can start to happen. It’s not uncommon for breathing to be interrupted hundreds of times during the night in serious cases.
There are two different types of sleep apnea which your doctor will be able to diagnosis you with. The first is central sleep apnea which means the person’s airway isn’t blocked, but their brain isn’t telling their muscles to breathe. The second is obstructive sleep apnea, which is the more common type. With this type of sleep apnea, a person’s airways have a blockage of some sort that causes the interruptions in breathing.
What is the Treatment for Sleep Apnea?
There are actually a number of different treatment options for sleep apnea depending on the person’s severity of the disorder and their health. It can include simple things such as changing up the sleeping position, losing weight, not sleeping on your back, not using sleeping pills, cutting out alcohol and cutting out smoking.
If these lifestyle changes aren’t enough, then there is something called a CPAP machine – which stands for a continuous positive airway pressure machine. The person will wear a mask over their mouth and/or their nose when they are sleeping, and it will deliver a continuous flow of air into their body. You can check out this fantastic resource on the best CPAP machines available to learn more about the treatment and the machines.
In the most severe of cases, surgery may be required in order to remedy the disorder or to at least alleviate the symptoms.
What About the Health Effects?
Of course, the big worry for those who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea are what the negative health effects of the disorder are. Should sleep apnea be left untreated it can lead to:
- A feeling of tiredness
- Memory loss
- Mental confusion
- Adult asthma
- Acid reflux
- Weakened immune system
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Liver problems
A Disorder That Should Be Taken Seriously
Sleep apnea isn’t just a disorder that can mess with your sleep, it is a disorder that can lead to all kinds of health problems, which is why it should be taken very seriously.