How Dangerous is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
How Dangerous is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
For the millions of people around the world that are affected by obstructive sleep apnea, the last thing you want to hear about are the increased dangers of having OSA. You already know about the normal problems that can arise in your life because of the condition, but the scariest thing about this condition is the number of people that have OSA, but haven’t been diagnosed with it yet. There is an estimated 18 million people in the United States that suffer from the condition, including many that don’t even know it. Another scary fact to keep in mind about those with OSA is
that they could be
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responsible for one in five automobile accidents, which puts their own life in danger, as well as those around them in other vehicles or their own.
This latest information comes from the RAC also states that one in 20 drivers have the condition without being aware of it. The lack of knowing in this situation is extremely dangerous for all involved because at least those that are aware of their condition know how to better handle their safety and control the side effects.
If you aren’t a believer in what the facts of
this story, how about this one. According to the research conducted, it was found that sleep apnea patients driving performance was as bad as those that are above the legal alcohol limit.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
The main reason why there are millions of people that have OSA and don’t know it is the simple fact that they are sleeping. When a person with OSA falls asleep, the muscles in their throat relax to the point where the airway is obstructed. This obstruction can lead to snoring and can also make it so you temporarily stop breathing. These apnea moments can last a few seconds to as long as a half a minute, and the only way you might recognize you have OSA is when you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night feeling like you wee gasping for air.
OSA affects each person differently and these apnea issues can happen a few times a night or in some cases, hundreds of times a night. In these people that suffer from hundreds of lapses in their sleep, serious health conditions can develop in extreme cases and in most cases, daytime grogginess and sleepiness can occur.
How Dangerous is it to Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
When a person has OSA and aren’t getting treatment for the condition, they are six times more likely to be in an accident. These accidents can range from automobile accidents to serious work-related issues. This is just the starting point on how dangerous it is to have sleep apnea and not
When a person has OSA, which is the most common form of sleep apnea, and doesn’t get treatment for their condition, aside from potential problems with accidents, they are also more likely to develop high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, depression and for those with ADHD, your condition will begin to worsen. It can also lead to problems in the workplace and at school, as daytime sleepiness can lead to a person
having a shorter fuse with their peers.
Who is Most Likely to be Diagnosed With Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
OSA is something that can happen to anyone, regardless of age, sex or health, but it is something that is more likely to develop in those that have weight issues or problems with drugs and alcohol. If you are a person that has never snored before and began to gain weight, especially around the neck area, this
added pressure will cause problems with your airway. OSA has also been proven to occur more in African-American, Hispanic and Pacific Islander men than Caucasians and for women, is more likely to occur after going through menopause.
How Can I Treat my Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
As soon as you are diagnosed with OSA, the first treatment method that will usually be prescribed would be too sleep with a device over your mouth that will regulate the airflow through your body. These devices, called continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, will keep air flowing through your airways, negating any potential chance of obstructions developing.
A leading sleep clinician, John Stradling said that these devices are the “usual treatment” method for those with OSA.
In addition to using CPAP machines, there are also numerous products from pillows to anti-snore clips that are meant to help prevent obstructions from developing in your airway. When you keep the airway opened like it is supposed to be, it doesn’t allow for these dangerous apneas to occur and your chances of developing daytime grogginess decrease, as do your chances of being the cause of an automobile accident.
About the Author
Hobson Lopes is a 2012 graduate of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. He is a professional writer who will be releasing a cookbook in January 2014 called Men Cook Too. He is also the owner of The First Pitch and can be followed on Twitter.