Sleep apnea affects approximately 22 million adults in the US, yet 80% of sleep apnea cases remain undiagnosed. If undiagnosed, sleep apnea could lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. With cardiovascular disease being the number one killer of both men and women, it is vital to be seen by a doctor for treatment.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is an obstructive condition that prevents your body from receiving an adequate amount of oxygen causing interruptions in regular sleeping patterns. There are two main types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when there is a blockage in the airway. The tongue relaxes and blocks the back of the throat while sleeping.
Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to communicate to the muscles to breathe.
Both of these conditions can cause the body to lose oxygen and wake up frequently throughout the night. This can result in daytime fatigue and sleepiness. Other symptoms include loud snoring, morning headaches and insomnia.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
The only way to properly diagnose sleep apnea is through a sleep study. Sleep studies are done at a sleep laboratory or can be taken home depending on the physician’s orders. Once diagnosed, the patient may be given a positive airway pressure (PAP) machine. This machine is worn over the mouth and pumps air through the nose and throat to ensure airways stay open. Other treatments include mouthguards to keep the tongue from blocking airways, weight loss, and avoiding sleeping on one’s back.
For best practice, always talk to your doctor if you are having trouble sleeping through the night.
Already diagnosed with sleep apnea? Consider participating in clinical research trial. It is one of the best ways to help improve medical treatments and increase the knowledge that researchers have about sleep apnea.