Are you always tired? Do others report that you snore? Are you a tad or more overweight? If these are true, you may have sleep apnea.
If these are all true for you, waste no time in having your doctor prescribe a sleep study. If you do have sleep apnea, it can shorten your life. And there is treatment! Those who have sleep apnea hold their breaths many times a night, gasping for air. Sleep apnea means higher risk of cardiovascular disease such as stroke, heart attack, and aneurism.
Here is what happens in sleep apnea: the airway collapses when you breathe in. Fatty tissue lining the airway makes the airway less elastic. So sleep apnea is a condition caused by overweight, generally speaking. Snoring typically accompanies it.
The airway collapses. Then the blood oxygen level falls. Blood pressure goes way up as a result. The sleeper, struggling to breathe, starts to wake up. Nearly waking up, the sleeper is able to complete the breath. Then he falls asleep again. The cycle can be repeated many times per minute. If a stopped breath lasts 10 seconds, it is defined as sleep apnea.
Your cardiovascular system will wear out from the constantly spiking blood pressure. Your rest will be ruined because of the constant near-waking.
Oddly enough, you may not even be aware that you hold your breath while sleeping. Only the telltale tiredness will tip you off that you are in fact sleep-deprived.
The sudden rise in blood pressure many times a night is what can kill you, by leading to heart disease or stroke.
An effective treatment method has been developed over the past few decades. The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device consists of a face mask, an air hose, and a fan in side a box. The fan supplies pressure through the hose to your airway. It’s not too much pressure–you can easily breathe out — but when you breathe in, it boosts the airway pressure enough to prevent collapse.
One downside is that the mask can be uncomfortable. But a variety of suppliers offer options now, one of which will probably fit your face.
The CPAP might limit your activities, too, because you always have to wear it, even if you are traveling or camping.
The fan makes a noise, but it’s a white noise that may actually help you fall asleep.
Let’s stack benefits against drawbacks. Without treatment, you risk early death. With it, you have to wear a mask when you sleep and locate an electric outlet. Which do you choose?