Continuous nights without rest, week after week, are more than just the stress in one’s life piling up, but a serious medical problem with dangerous consequences if left untreated. Sleep apnea affects two to four percent of men in their middle ages, and four to nine percent of women in the same age bracket. However, 90% of those who suffer with sleep apnea are entirely undiagnosed, often putting these men and women in life threatening situations due to the severe consequences of the human body trying to function on little to no rest.
Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that causes difficulty sleeping, and is defined as any occurrences in which a person stops breathing while unconscious for at least 10 seconds at a time. This momentary lapse in breathing happens continuously throughout the night, typically without fully waking a patient into consciousness. This causes a patient to experience sleep without rest. Symptoms of sleep apnea include restless sleep, persistent drowsiness during the day, difficulty concentrating, failing memory skills, headaches upon waking, loud snoring, frequency in urges to urinate throughout the evening hours, as well as noticeable personality changes. Patients will often gasp for breath while still fast asleep, never being aware of the problems occurring inside them.
There are two main causes of sleep apnea currently known to science. The first is caused by improper signals being sent by the brain to the muscles that indicate a problem in your nervous system. The second and more common cause of sleep apnea is a physical problem of an obstruction of the airway, which causes blockage, and is termed as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. One or both of these symptoms can occur in patients, but the most common causes of sleep apnea are due to a physical problem with your airways and the muscles that control their flow.
Those who experience any of the above symptoms should not hesitate to contact their local specialist for proper treatment. The restriction of oxygen caused by sleep apnea starves the body of oxygen, making it extremely difficult for those who suffer from sleep apnea to fall into a natural sleep cycle. When a body cannot enter a proper deep sleep, it causes a person to fall asleep, yet never truly find rest. Without a good night’s sleep every time you close your eyes, your body can suffer in ways that could endanger your life. Aside from fatal accidents due to lack of alertness, sleep apnea without treatment can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and even stroke. Sleep apnea is treated uniquely from patient to patient, depending on the cause and severity of illness. Immediate diagnosis and care can restore proper sleep and save lives.