Lady sleeping and snoring in a train

flickr.com/hellostanley

Snoring is a bothersome,  although largely harmless,  practice.   On the other hand, sleep apnea  is a medical disorder that can lead to serious consequences.

Sleep apnea happens when a person is unable to get sufficient oxygen into their system while sleeping.  Periods of apnea can last 10 seconds or longer,  and often cause the afflicted individual to wake in the night,  gasping for air.

Here are some common sleep apnea information:

*  In America alone, sleep apnea may be widespread in as many as 18 million people.  That means that approximately 1 in every 15 Americans, or 6.62% of the total American population, experience sleep apnea.

*  An estimated 2 to 4 percent of all Americans suffer with undiagnosed sleep apnea. This means that one in fifty people remain undiagnosed.

*  At the University of California’s San Diego campus, researchers studied 54 African Americans and 346 Caucasians for presence of sleep apnea.  The results revealed that 17 percent of African American participants and 8 percent of Caucasian subjects presented with cases of obstructive sleep apnea.

*  More than 263,000 children annually undergo tonsillectomies. Many of these surgeries are conducted to correct tonsils that obstruct the airway and cause sleep apnea.

*  Persons who suffer with sleep apnea face a steep increase in the possibility of being involved in a traffic accident.  Their sleeplessness at night usually causes lack of concentration during the day.  Apnea sufferers are 6 times more likely to die in a car accident.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in fact, has stated that drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 car accidents, 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths every year.

*  Those with untreated cases of sleep apnea are 4 times as likely to be diagnosed with stroke as those who are not afflicted.  Additionally, untreated sleep apnea sufferers are three times as likely to develop heart disease.

*  In general, the partners of people with untreated obstructive sleep apnea can also suffer from a serious lack of sleep.  Due to the gasping and breathing  of an apnea sufferer, the bedmate loses up to an hour of sleep per night.  This was discovered when researchers performed a study to measure the effects of CPAP treatment in helping the bedmates to sleep.

*  Roughly half of all hospital patients who were diagnosed with hypertension are also afflicted with sleep apnea.   In like manner, about half of all sleep apnea sufferers are also diagnosed with hypertension.

*  On an average night, a man or woman suffering with obstructive sleep apnea may experience sixty apneas per hour. This adds up to a shocking average of 400 apneas per night.

These statistics show what sufferers already know:  sleep apnea is not a problem to be taken lightly.  There is good news:  the risks of mortality faced by those with untreated obstructive sleep apnea can be significantly lessened with various treatment options.

If you think that you may suffer from sleep apnea,  consult with your doctor and begin treatment.

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Filed under: Sleep Apnea