Apnea and Snoring
These four yes-or-no "STOP" questions can help you determine your risk for sleep apnea:
S: Do you snore loudly (louder than talking or loud enough to be heard through closed doors)?
T: Do you often feel tired, fatigued, or sleepy during the day?
O: Has anyone observed you not breathing during sleep?
P: Do you have or have you been treated for high blood pressure?
You have a high risk of sleep apnea if you answered "yes" to two or more of these questions.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes your breathing to stop or get very shallow. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour.
The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea. It causes your airway to collapse or become blocked during sleep. Normal breathing starts again with a snort or choking sound. People with sleep apnea often snore loudly. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.
Doctors diagnose sleep apnea based on medical and family histories, a physical exam, and sleep study results.
When your sleep is interrupted throughout the night, you can be drowsy during the day. People with sleep apnea are at higher risk for car crashes, work-related accidents, and other medical problems. If you have it, it is important to get treatment. Lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery, and breathing devices can treat sleep apnea in many people.
Key Sleep Apnea Facts and Statistics
1. More than 22 million Americans are dealing with sleep apnea right now.
2. 80% of moderate to severe sleep apnea cases are undiagnosed.
3. Sleep apnea symptoms include chronic snoring, waking up abruptly to the sensation of choking or gasping, excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia, awakening with a dry throat, morning headaches, and irritability.
4. Snoring doesn’t always equal sleep apnea, and sleep apnea doesn’t always equal snoring. Many sleep apnea patients don’t snore at all
5. Individuals dealing with sleep apnea may awaken abruptly gasping for air upwards of 30 times per hour during sleep.
6. Being male, overweight, middle aged or older, and having a thick neck circumference are all risk factors for sleep apnea.
7. Sleep apnea affects women, too. Though women are eight times less likely to receive a diagnosis.
8. Up to 4% of children are dealing with sleep apnea, but it’s commonly misdiagnosed as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
9. Untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of serious health problems, including heart disease and diabetes.
10. Managing sleep apnea is entirely possible with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy and/or lifestyle changes. Some lifestyle changes include losing weight, avoiding alcohol at night and quitting smoking.