Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which breathing is interrupted multiple times throughout the night when the airway is blocked by soft tissue. Obstructive sleep apnea can lead to a variety of negative side effects, from excessive daytime sleepiness to heart disease and stroke.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, or suspect that you may have it, these statistics may spark your interest:
- It’s estimated that one in 15 adults in the United States have obstructive sleep apnea, which equals 18 million people. Approximately 80% of these people are undiagnosed. Although men are at a higher risk of sleep apnea than women, both sexes can suffer from this disorder. Children can also have sleep apnea, although at a lower rate of prevalence. Approximately 2 percent of children suffer from sleep apnea, sometimes caused by enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids1. If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, start your path to treatment with our free online sleep screening. The sooner you receive an official diagnosis, the sooner you can start treatment and resolve your sleep apnea.
- The most common causes of sleep apnea include: being overweight, having a narrow airway, smoking, and genetics. Other factors that may contribute include alcohol consumption, certain medications, and age. The good news is that sleep apnea can be successfully managed through lifestyle changes and CPAP therapy.
- Sleep apnea can raise your risk of an automobile accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as many as 100,000 auto accidents per year are caused by driving while drowsy, and approximately 10 percent of these accidents are fatal. By treating your sleep apnea and improving sleep quality, you can lower your risk.
- It’s possible for a sufferer of sleep apnea to have 30 or more breathing interruptions per hour throughout the night. This can amount to hundreds of pauses on a nightly basis. Sufferers of sleep apnea may wake up as frequently as every two minutes, making it impossible to get a good night’s sleep, or even to sleep for an hour or two without interruption.
- Sleep apnea quadruples your risk of stroke. In addition, sleep apnea sufferers are three times as likely to develop heart disease. To lower your risk for these life-threatening conditions, seek treatment for your sleep apnea right away and practice healthy habits. If you’re overweight, commit to losing the excess pounds. If you smoke, quit. Not only does smoking exacerbate sleep apnea, it raises your risk factor for co-occurring health problems2.
- The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research reports that more than 38,000 people die each year from cardiovascular issues related to sleep apnea.
- One of the most common therapies for sleep apnea is the use of a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and it refers to a machine that keeps the airway open via a gentle, constant stream of pressurized air. Sleep apnea sufferers who use their CPAP machine for 7 hours per night are less likely to suffer complications from sleep apnea3.
It’s important to know how to recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea. They can include sleepiness during the day, dry mouth and throat, morning headache, inability to concentrate, and irritability. Often, a person’s sleeping partner will also alert them to the breathing pauses and frequent waking. Get started on your sleep apnea diagnosis today. Start by taking the free, online sleep screening.