Do you wake up feeling groggy despite having a full night’s sleep? Do you wake yourself up in the middle of the night snoring loudly or gasping and choking for breath? These are red flags indicating you might have sleep apnea. If so, you are one of the almost 30 million adults throughout the U.S. who suffer from the serious medical condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Almost one billion people around the world have this disorder, and around 90 percent of those with OSA remain undiagnosed. Sleep apnea can affect anyone: yourself, your significant other or even your child.
Did You Know …?
1 – Sleep apnea was not officially discovered until 1965 after doctors recorded this pause in breathing for patients who were believed to have this condition because of upper airway obstruction.
2 – In 1970, the first sleep medicine clinic occurred at Stanford University. Researchers monitored patients while they slept to detect any signs indicating sleep apnea.
3 – Up to 4% of children suffer from sleep apnea annually. Typically, the age range for sleep apnea diagnosis is in children 2 – 8 years old. Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea happens when there is a developmental issue or a medical condition, like enlarged tonsils or adenoids hampering breathing.
4 – When it comes to gender, men are doubly vulnerable to developing sleep apnea than women. However, aging increases your risk for sleep apnea, especially for women after passing through menopause. While sleep apnea gradually worsens over time, the rate of sleep apnea most often plateaus when a person reaches 65.
5 – The first treatment for sleep apnea was performing a tracheostomy. This can still be done today and involves making an incision in the trachea (windpipe) on the neck and inserting a small plastic tube. This keeps the opening clear so air can come in and out without using the upper throat, tongue, mouth or nasal passages to breathe.
6 – There are two main kinds of sleep apnea. The most common is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which arises as your airway muscles relax, collapsing the esophagus and blocking your airway. The other kind, central sleep apnea (CSA), involves the brain and body’s ability to control breathing, as brain malfunctions pause normal breathing.
7 – Even though many adults are affected by sleep apnea, it often goes undiagnosed. Many people ignore snoring as anything more than what it seems, not realizing that it is one of the key signs signifying sleep apnea. Even when speaking with their doctor, they may just chalk it up to insomnia or fatigue.
8 – Left untreated, severe sleep apnea can lead to serious health issues like hypertension, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and depression. Risk factors include smoking, asthma, chronic nasal congestion, a family history of sleep apnea or being born with a narrowed airway.
9 – As many as 60% of patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea are able to reduce symptoms by sleeping on their side instead of their back. If your sleep apnea symptom happens when you lie on your back, turning to positional therapy and sleeping on your side can greatly help relieve your symptoms.
10 – The most common treatment for OSA is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, invented by an Australian doctor in 1980. This air pressure helps ensure your airway stays open while you sleep.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you are not alone! If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, we invite you to reach out to our team to learn how to treat it. You deserve a healthy night’s sleep!