Sleep apnea is a condition that affects a major part of the population but remains undisclosed to a large percentage. An approximate 20% of adults are said to be victims of this problem while 90% among these patients are left undiagnosed and very few go for treatment procedures. Around 50% of people with diabetes are also said to suffer from sleep apnea.
People with diabetes, suffering from obstructive sleep apnea which is left untreated are highly susceptible to developing heart problems and coronary disease. This is especially so in people who are between the age groups of 40-70. Acute sleep apnea is said to be the reason for a number of day time accidents due to drowsiness while driving.
In India, a survey showed the incidence of around 30 million reported cases of sleep apnea in the metro and urban areas. America reported 12 million cases and in both the cases, treatment has been sought by a very few percentage. Memory problems and weight gain are some of the conditions that can affect these people in future. In children, it is known to cause certain behavioral problems.
Studies show that sleep apnea cases are more rampant among men in the below 50 years category than women whereas the statistics are the same among both after they cross this mark. Obesity is another condition to which sleep apnea is closely related. Obese people have large deposits of fat around their throats which causes their airways to narrow. In fact sure cases of OSA have been seen in stout people whose neck circumference exceeds 17 inches.
People who smoke have inflammation and fluid retention in their airways. This will raise their chances of developing sleep apnea in future. The same can be said about people who consume too much of alcohol or tranquilizers which relax the muscles in the upper airway so that they slacken during sleep and thus leads to loud snoring sounds followed by obstructive sleep apnea.
An alarming 20% of people admitted to dozing off behind the wheel which may be the adverse effects of sleep apnea. Most of these people are men who suffer from fatigue during the day because of frequent disturbances in their nighttime sleep caused by sleep apnea. In America, almost 40% of people who report at hospitals with some sleep disorder or the other have some sort of pulmonary or heart problem, if not diabetes. Of these OSA is most common and a majority of the patients also suffer from hypertension or coronary disease.
The screening procedure for Sleep apnea patients have been intensified what with more and more cases being reported. Hospitals are being equipped to provide advice and treatment in both inpatient and outpatient environments. With just about 10 million people getting proper treatment for this condition, there is a need to increase the number of sleep laboratories so that more awareness is created. A person who sleeps alone may not be aware of his sleep pattern, so his condition may go untreated for a while. On the other hand, a person who has a bed partner will receive constant complaints about his loud snoring habits and may be forced to seek medical help.
Sleep apnoea is the British English way of spelling “Sleep Apnea“, because sleep apnea is more widely used in medical circles this site will be using the “sleep apnea” spelling on all of it’s pages. Rest assured sleep apnoea and sleep apnea are the same sleep disorder. If you have any other questions, you can contact us.
A recent study by Vincenza Castronovo of Sleep Disorders Center, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University and San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy, has shown a link between obstructive sleep apnea and a persons brain gray matter.
The small study of 17 patients with OSA and 15 age-matched controls found reduced gray matter in the OSA group in several key regions of the brain connected with abstract reasoning and executive function, along with deficits in the left cortex, which were shown to be linked to daytime sleepiness.
The participants in the OSA group also had impaired memory, attention, executive function, and constructional abilities, as well as higher sleepiness scores.
However, the brain changes are partially or fully reversible with early detection and treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), said the Italian researchers.
The findings appear online and in an upcoming print issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
“This study provides the first evidence that structural brain abnormalities exist in regions susceptible to hypoxemia [low oxygen levels in the blood], and they can change with treatment,” Vincenza Castronovo, a clinical psychologist at the Sleep Disorders Center, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University and San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, said in a journal news release.
This just goes to show how important it is to seek treatment if you think you might suffer from sleep apnea.