Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder most common in men, particularly amongst African American and Hispanic men. This disorder is caused when your breathing, systematically stop and start repeatedly five to 30 times per hour or more during sleep.
The first sign of sleep apnea is loud and chronic snoring. The snoring is usually the loudest when you are sleeping on your back; pauses in breathing can also occur in the snoring. You may not snore every night, however, as the condition progresses, the snoring can happen more often and become louder. Other signs of sleep apnea are dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up, irritability, morning headaches, learning problems and a lack of concentration.
The two most common types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common of both; occurs when there is a blockage of the airway, usually when the throat muscles are relax. Central sleep apnea occurs when the airway is not block, causing the brain to not send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Risk factors of developing sleep apnea:
* A thicker neck circumference which may have a narrower airway.
* Older than 60
* Use of alcohol and tobacco smoke
* Nasal congestion
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and sleep apnea are linked together because obesity is associated with heart disease and stroke. Obesity contributes to sleep apnea which then causes sleep deprivation, therefore increasing your risks of developing heart disease. Obstructive sleep apnea increases the risks of high blood pressure and stroke; repeated episodes of this condition can lead to a sudden death from a cardiac failure.
You should always consult with a doctor once you notice signs of sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to cardiovascular problems as well as diabetes. Besides consulting with a doctor, I also recommend you make lifestyles changes by maintaining a healthy weight and following a nutritious diet. Both will decrease your chances of developing sleep apnea and chronic diseases.
Happy Healthy Living !