Around 10% of individuals in the United States have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, which means that they stop breathing many times each hour while sleeping.
Yet the actual toll of sleep apnea is likely much underreported, since medical experts believe that more than 80% of individuals with the breathing disorder are unaware they have it.
In addition to causing fatigue, sleep apnea may result in loud snoring and an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and cardiac arrhythmia, commonly known as an irregular heartbeat.
What are the most frequent sleep apnea symptoms?
Snoring, gasping, or choking during sleep are the most typical signs you or your spouse should check for. “All of these are possible indicators of underlying obstructive sleep apnea,” said Green. Sleep apnea may be present if a person can fall asleep but cannot remain asleep.
People may also suffer a variety of symptoms while they are awake.
“Waking up with a headache, waking up without feeling refreshed, or feeling fatigued throughout the day, even to the point of dozing off,” Green added, are all indicators of sleep apnea.
How can you tell whether you suffer from sleep apnea?
A simple at-home test may detect sleep apnea. Green urges those with concerns to get testing.
“If you are doing all the correct things and still do not feel refreshed by your sleep, or if you are having difficulties remaining asleep, you should see a sleep doctor,” Green said.
Children may have sleep apnea.
Yes. Tonsil enlargement is the major cause of sleep apnea in children. Tonsils that are swollen in adults may potentially cause sleep apnea.
If they suffer from sleep apnea, do youngsters exhibit distinct symptoms from adults?
Sure, Green said.
“Children with sleep apnea seldom experience daytime fatigue. “This is really different from obstructive sleep apnea in adults,” said Green. The majority of the time, sleep apnea in children manifests as ADHD-like symptoms, such as disruptive behavior, emotional lability (extreme mood swings), and poor academic performance.
Green recommends parents to see a physician if they observe their children snoring and experiencing periods when they stop breathing. Further evaluation may be appropriate.
Is sleep apnea more prevalent with age? And is it true that males are more likely to experience sleep apnea than women?
Yes. The incidence of sleep apnea increases as individuals age. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that around 24% of men and 9% of women suffer sleep apnea symptoms. A study of senior veterans indicated that between 38 and 68% of those older than 60 suffer from sleep apnea.
While more males have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, women are likely underdiagnosed.
“Numerous studies indicate that, after menopause, the risk of sleep apnea is probably same for men and women. It may be a factor in women’s sleeplessness. “There is likely less gender disparity than prior research indicated,” Green said.
Modvigil 200(Provigil) and Modalert 200 is used to treat excessive sleepiness in patients with narcolepsy and residual sleepiness in certain cases of sleep apnea. Scientists believe the drug affects the sleep-wake centers in the brain. The most common side effect is a headache.
Does obesity contribute to sleep apnea?
Yes. A substantially greater proportion of Americans are overweight and obese than in past decades. Those who are overweight or obese are also more prone to get sleep apnea.
Green argues that it is a fallacy that sleep apnea is invariably associated with obesity.
“Being overweight or obese has an undeniable effect on sleep apnea. For some individuals, weight reduction may be curative. Yet, individuals of all body shapes suffer from sleep apnea. Green said, “I see really underweight folks with severe sleep apnea.”
She said, “It all comes down to the size, shape, and layout of your airways and the structure of your bones.” Anybody may suffer from sleep apnea. It usually runs in families. If you have relatives with sleep apnea, you may also have it. It is quite prevalent and grossly underdiagnosed.”
Together with males and overweight or obese individuals, who else is more likely to develop sleep apnea?
The following categories are more susceptible to sleep apnea:
Individuals affected by nocturnal nasal congestion who smoke.
Men and women with high neck circumferences
Racial and ethnic minorities
Children and adults with Down syndrome
Individuals with greater tonsils and adenoids
Anybody with a history of sleep apnea in their family
Those affected by endocrine abnormalities, such as acromegaly and hypothyroidism
What therapies are available for sleep apnea?
Green said that a CPAP machine is the most effective and least intrusive treatment for sleep apnea.
“The CPAP machine is the gold-standard therapy for sleep apnea. If it can be worn, it is 100 percent effective. “If you can sleep with a CPAP machine, it can offer a correction of 100 percent,” stated Green.
A CPAP machine involves the use of a mask that fits over the user’s nose and mouth (or just your nose for some people). The mask is attached to an air pipe, which is attached to the CPAP machine. The equipment then distributes pressured air into the airway via the hose and mask, avoiding bouts of stopped breathing by maintaining the airway from the inside out.