15 Things to Know About Sleep Apnea

15 Things to Know About Sleep Apnea

15 Things to Know About Sleep Apnea

There are a lot of things to know about sleep apnea. The thing is, you're about to find out just how many people don't even realize they have this potentially life-threatening disease. Knowing about the signs of sleep apnea, as well as other sleep apnea facts and statistics can help keep you and your family safe. You'll be surprised at how many people it affects, and you may even be surprised by who has it. It's a famous celebrity you probably know!

Without further ado, we present you with the top 15 things to know about sleep apnea.

  1. There Are Three Types of Sleep Apnea

The three types of sleep apnea are central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea. Obstructive step apnea is most common. It happens when your muscles relax while you're sleeping, which causes tissues to collapse and block your airway. Central sleep apnea is less common. It happens when your respiratory system shuts down while you're sleeping. Complex sleep apnea happens when people experience symptoms of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea Affects 30 Million Americans

Statistics in a sleep apnea study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine tell us there are an estimated 30 million adults in the United States who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. That's 12% of the entire adult population. So if you've recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you're not alone.

  1. It Often Goes Undiagnosed

According to experts at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, over 23 million adults in the United States are estimated to have sleep apnea that has not been diagnosed. This is despite healthcare professionals from several health organizations attempting to raise awareness for the common sleep condition.

  1. Undiagnosed Cases Costs Billions

Research shows that the estimated costs that are created as a result of undiagnosed sleep apnea are close to $150 billion. The costs to employers for lost productivity and not showing up for work, and workplace accidents add up fast for corporations. It doesn't stop there though, things like motor vehicle accidents and increased risk of costly diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, and hypertension also contribute to that whopping cost total.

  1. Increased Health Risks

We hinted about at this in the previous fact about sleep apnea when we talked about the costs associated with certain diseases. Sleep experts attest to the fact that sleep apnea can cause several dangerous diseases. This includes heart disease and diabetes as we mentioned, but sleep apnea also increases your risk for depression or stroke.

  1. Sleep Apnea Can Affect Children

The American Sleep Apnea Association reports that up to 4% of children, including infants, are estimated to sugar from sleep apnea. The most common ages for children to experience sleep apnea are between the ages of two and eight years old.

  1. Snoring is a Sign of Sleep Apnea

If you snore at night, it may be a sign that you have sleep apnea. The National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project rates awareness for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Doctors with the project agree that snoring is one of the signs you may have sleep apnea. If you snore in your sleep, you should discuss it with your doctor to rule out sleep apnea as the cause. Left untreated, sleep apnea can be a life-threatening disease.

  1. Your Risk Increases With Age

Your chances of experiencing sleep apnea increase as you age. Sleep professionals report that women who have passed menopause are more likely to have sleep apnea. You can have sleep apnea at any age, but it seems to lessen after the age of 65.

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea More Common in Men

The Journal of Thoracic Disease has a scientific review covering the epidemiology of sleep apnea. Their review concluded many interesting facts about sleep apnea. One of which was that men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women. There was no definitive evidence as to why men are at higher risk.

  1. Losing Weight Can Help

The same review we just mentioned also noted that the chances of having sleep apnea are increased if you are overweight. Losing weight can be a way to help prevent sleep apnea, as well as promote other health benefits. Losing weight is one of the best ways to reduce symptoms of sleep apnea.

  1. The Number One Symptom of Sleep Apnea

Although we already mentioned snoring as a sign of sleep apnea, it isn't the most important symptom. Experiencing excessive feelings of sleepiness and being tired during the day is the number one symptom of sleep apnea. Consider talking to your doctor if you feel like you're always tired.

  1. Famous People Have Sleep Apnea It Too

Famous actress, comedian, writer, director, and producer (whoa that's a lot), Amy Poehler told reporters at NPR that she has sleep apnea. In the movie Wine Country, Poehler's character can be seen using her very own CPAP machine that she brought to the set.

  1. Take Caution With Anesthesia

Remember how we said a large number of people with sleep apnea go undiagnosed? This can be a problem for anesthesiologists whose job is to deliver medications made to relax muscles, including the same muscles that relax and cause sleep apnea symptoms. This is why doctors have patients complete sleep apnea screenings before undergoing anesthesia.

  1. National Sleep Apnea Awareness Day

A fun fact about sleep apnea is National Sleep Apnea Awareness Day. The American Sleep Apnea Association recognizes the day in March, usually during Sleep Awareness Week. Their goal is to raise awareness about the dangers of sleep apnea and to help people see the warning signs to reduce the number of cases out there that go undiagnosed.

  1. Increased Risk of Car Crashes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that an estimated 1000,000 crashes per year are a result of drowsy driving. Not getting enough sleep because of sleep apnea increases your risk of becoming one of the nearly 1500 fatal car crashes that happen because of fatigue. Don't put yourself or your family at risk.

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