4 Unsettling Facts Everyone Should Know About Sleep Apnea

June 13, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — gotosleep @ 12:20 pm
man looking at phone with concerned expression

Most people have at least heard of sleep apnea, and maybe you even know someone with the condition. But how much do you really understand it? The truth is that many people only have a basic idea of sleep apnea, but these four unsettling facts will reveal just how serious it is and how important it is to seek treatment right away.

It Affects Everyone

Men, especially those over the age of 50, are by far more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than women. However, while obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects roughly 24% of men, it is also seen in about 9% of women, and even 2% of children. If you or anyone you care about is experiencing the common symptoms (snoring, consistent exhaustion, pauses in breathing during sleep), then don’t rule out sleep apnea just because of age or gender.

There Can Be Hundreds of Episodes Each Night

The main symptom of sleep apnea is that a person repeatedly has their breathing interrupted for short periods of time throughout the night. While this might happen less than 10 times an hour in some cases, in severe instances, this can occur hundreds of times an hour. Multiply that over the course of a 6-8 hour sleeping session, and it’s easy to see why sleep apnea can take such a toll on someone’s physical and mental health.

Weight Matters

One of the leading causes of sleep apnea is excess weight. This is because the development of fatty tissue on the throat makes the airway more likely to become blocked when a person lays down and goes to sleep. That’s why in the United States, rates of sleep apnea are exploding alongside the well-documented obesity epidemic.

It Is Tough on Your Heart

Sleep apnea in itself isn’t deadly, but it increases a person’s risk of potentially fatal health problems severalfold. Over 35,000 cardiovascular-related deaths in the U.S. each year are shown to have a direct connection to sleep apnea. That’s because the stress the body experiences leads to chronic high blood pressure, which is one of the leading risk factors for heart attack and stroke.

Bonus Fact: Your Dentist Can Help

The most popular sleep apnea treatment is CPAP therapy, in which a patient literally wears an air pump to bed that keeps their throat open by forcing oxygen into it. As you can imagine, while this is effective, it’s not exactly comfortable. That’s why a lot of OSA patients are instead choosing to get oral appliance therapy.

A trained sleep dentist provides the patient with a custom-made mouthguard to wear to bed, and it slightly repositions the lower jaw in a way that prevents the airway from ever closing, allowing someone to breathe normally throughout the night. Compared to a CPAP machine, this approach is much easier to use, doesn’t create noise, and requires almost no maintenance, making compliance much higher.

While not exactly uplifting, hopefully these facts have helped you better understand sleep apnea and given you all the motivation you need to get professional treatment or strongly encourage your loved one to do so.

About the Practice

GoTo Sleep Center for CPAP Alternatives is led by Dr. Stacey Layman, a highly-trained and widely respected sleep dentist that has helped patients overcome both snoring and sleep apnea since 2009. She is joined by Dr. Roger Roybal and Dr. Elizabeth Wallmann, and together, they have allowed countless people to regain control of their sleep. If you’re tired of being tired or want to get rid of your CPAP, contact one of our three convenient locations today to set up a consultation and sleep test.

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