What is Sleep Apnea?
Snoring we all know well. What many don’t realize is that snoring is often a sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is the condition where the oxygen movement at night is critically reduced. Are you excessively sleepy during the day? Has a loved one noticed you snoring or stopping breathing while asleep? Take our quick sleep apnea quiz to find out if you may have sleep apnea.
- Approximately 30 million Americans are victims of sleep apnea.(1)
- “Apnea” is a Greek word meaning “without breath.”
- Those with apnea literally stop breathing in their sleep often hundreds of times during the night.
What Causes It?
In general, sleep apnea is a part of a spectrum of a disease where the upper airway has too much resistance. During sleep, the upper airway relaxes and, due to many causes, it collapses. This collapse stops your airflow, which causes your blood oxygen level to drop, ultimately making your brain wake you up. If you have sleep apnea, this cycle can happen over 100 times in a night without you knowing it.
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
- Suffering from fatigue or tiredness through the day.
- Waking up with the feeling like you have not had enough sleep, even after sleeping many hours.
- Experiencing personality changes, such as mood swings, difficulty getting along with others and depression.
- It can also lead to sinus problems, headaches, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, lung problems, stroke, and heart attack.
Take our Sleep Apnea Quiz
How Serious is it?
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition and leaves people more susceptible to other health problems.
Strokes are three times more common in heavy snorers than in non-snorers.(2)
Heart attacks are more than 20 times more likely in people with untreated sleep apnea.(2)
Two studies presented at the ERS Congress show evidence suggesting an increase in cancer incidence among sleep apnea patients and an association between the spread of cancer and sleep apnea.(3)
Untreated sleep apnea tends to progressively worsen and can cause partial or complete disability and death.(4)
Is there a Cure?
The most commonly prescribed treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), however compliance rates are extremely low.(5) Sleep apnea can be treated surgically through the Sleep and Sinus Center of Georgia’s newly patented surgery, with 80% of the patients seeing improvement in their condition (VOAT).(6) The VOAT™ surgery is also minimally invasive,(6) most patients are even back at work the next day.
Do I Have Sleep Apnea?
If someone has witnessed you having excessively loud snoring, breathing pauses during your sleep, or making gasping or choking sounds, you may have sleep apnea. Take our Sleep Apnea Test to see if you need to be evaluated for sleep apnea.
- Dement, William C., Ph.d., and Robert Koenisgburg. “Guide to Understanding OSA.” SleepQuest. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2013.
- Andy, Steven. “Health Effects of Sleep Apnea : Breathing, Circulation, And Heart Problems.” Sooper Articles. N.p., 15 Jan. 2010. Web. 05 Apr. 2013.
- European Lung Foundation. “Sleep apnea linked with increased risk of cancer death.” ScienceDaily, 4 Sep. 2012. Web. 5 Apr. 2013.
- “Sleep Apnea.” RWJ Hamilton: Quality Healthcare. Robert Wood Johnson Health System, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2013.
- Weaver, Terri E., and Ronald R. Grunstein. “Adherence to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy: The Challenge to Effective Treatment.” Adherence to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy. ATS Journals, 1 Nov. 2011. Web. 07 Apr. 2013.
- “Submucosal Ablation of the Tongue Base for OSAS.” Submucosal Ablation of the Tongue Base for OSAS. American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery, 8 Dec. 2012. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.