Sleep apnea is a very common disorder that affects tens of millions of Americans. It is most common among men and people over the age of 40, as well as overweight individuals and people of African American or Hispanic origin. However, anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or body type, can suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is often first detected when a bed partner notices snoring on the part of the affected individual. However, snoring does not always accompany sleep apnea; even someone who never snores can have the condition.
Sleep apnea is characterized by repeated interruptions in normal breathing during sleep. This can be caused by soft tissue blocking the airway (obstructive sleep apnea), by abnormal signaling in the parts of the brain that control the muscles used for breathing (central sleep apnea), or by a combination of both (mixed sleep apnea). When breathing stops or becomes too shallow, a brief period of wakefulness, or a shift from deep to light sleep, often occurs. Although sleep apnea sufferers may not remember waking during the night, these changes in normal sleep patterns can have a profound impact on their wellbeing. Poor sleep often results in daytime fatigue, which can lead to emotional problems such as irritability and depression, increase the risk of on-the-job or automobile accidents, and cause problems with memory and concentration.
In addition to the primary effects of poor sleep on it sufferers, chronic sleep apnea can have long-term health implications. Ailments such as stroke and heart disease, as well as diabetes and high blood pressure, are associated with untreated sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can also worsen underlying medical conditions, and result in a lower quality of life for its sufferers. For these reasons, it is essential for people who suspect they may have sleep apnea to be proactive about pursuing treatment.
Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care for sleeping problems. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.