What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes people to stop breathing while they sleep. Sleep apnea occurs when soft tissues in the back of the throat and neck relax so much that the airway gets narrow. The airway may even get blocked completely, so that air cannot get through.
Each time this temporary pause in breathing occurs, the body responds by waking up for a very short period of time. These arousals are usually so brief that the person does not remember waking up. Sometimes, the bed partner is the one who notices the pauses in breathing and then hears the gasping or choking sounds as breathing starts again. People who suffer from sleep apnea may stop breathing hundreds of times every night.
Whether or not the person with sleep apnea realizes how much they are struggling to breath during the night, sleep apnea has very serious effects on the quality and restfulness of sleep and on the person’s health.
SLEEP APNEA FACTS & FIGURES
- 1 in 5 adults suffer from some form of sleep apnea.
- More than 1 in 2 people with type 2 diabetes have sleep apnea.
- 8 out of every 10 people who have sleep apnea have not been diagnosed for it.
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder. If you have sleep apnea, your health may be in danger. People with sleep apnea are more likely to develop serious health problems. Sleep apnea is a known cause of high blood pressure and may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. People with sleep apnea also have higher chances of traffic accidents and workplace injuries.
Sleep apnea can also cause relationship problems and depression.