Approximately 4% of U.S. citizens are currently suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea. Whether you experience the occasional bout of snoring or wake up half the block with it, you could be one of the nearly one in 50 individuals who haven’t been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
The lack of a diagnosis is dangerous for multiple reasons. Without knowing the cause of an issue, even one as seemingly harmless as snoring, can have serious consequences. Sleep apnea is present in as many as 18 million U.S. citizens, and without proper treatment, can lead to serious health consequences. Untreated sleep apnea patients are nearly three times as likely to suffer from heart disease later in life, and four times as likely to experience a stroke.
But what exactly is sleep apnea? According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, seep apnea is defined as a disorder in which a person experiences a temporary collapse in their airway, causing shallow breathing as well as pauses in breathing. Sleep apnea causes patients to wake frequently and shift suddenly from deep sleep into light sleep, which results in daytime sleepiness, and an overall poor quality of rest. In addition, this disorder is difficult to diagnose in routine medical visits, so if you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, you should schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist immediately.
If you’re looking for treatment options, there are plenty to choose from. Your options may vary depending on the severity of your condition, but most patients are treated with nightly use of a BiPAP or CPAP machine. Full face CPAP masks are the most common method of treatment for more severe cases of sleep apnea, and can make a huge difference in quality of rest if used properly. CPAP and BiPAP machines are designed to keep air flowing evenly through the nose and mouth to keep your airways open, and are the best method of treatment for any case of sleep apnea. However, as many as 80% patients who are diagnosed and prescribed with a full face CPAP mask do not use it often enough to keep them safe.
If you think you have sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to call your doctor. While a case of snoring may be annoying, it could turn out to be more dangerous than you think!