It’s hard to imagine that for some, a full, restorative night’s sleep is almost nothing but a dream. What’s more alarming is that as many as 18 million Americans suffer from symptoms caused by ineffective and disrupted sleep and are unaware that they live with untreated sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a very serious and sometimes fatally life-threatening disorder caused by a series of episodes where a person stops breathing for about 10 seconds to over 1 minute while they sleep.
Signs someone is suffering from OSA include a wide range of symptoms, some that are not always obvious. Most commonly, people who snore loudly at night are often afflicted with sleep apnea. Tissue in the back of the throat collapses while the person is breathing, thus blocking the airway and causing the audible result. While snoring certainly is loud and a nuisance, what’s actually happening inside of the airways is decreasing oxygen intake that is supplied to organs like the heart and brain which can lead to many severe medical issues such as heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, insomnia, depression and impotence. When a person’s body reaches low blood-oxygen levels they are often awoken, sometimes hundreds of times in a single night. Not only is this dangerous internally, but those who suffer from OSA are typically left feeling lethargic and sleep deprived which can affect their professional and personal lives both physically and psychologically.