Sleep apnea is a common disorder affecting up to 18 million Americans. The condition causes people to stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer as often as 30 times throughout a night. Most people don’t realize when it happens, but its affects can be life-threatening.
Individuals with sleep apnea lose the ability to breathe, causing them to wake up intermittently, and preventing them from getting proper sleep. Seemingly harmless, people suffering form sleep apnea are often sleepy throughout their normal waking hours, putting them at risk of falling asleep at dangerous times, including behind the wheel of an automobile.
Sleep apnea has also been linked to increased risk of:
Stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs, also known as “mini-strokes”)
Coronary heart disease
High blood pressure
There is no cure for sleep apnea. However, a proper diagnosis can reduce symptoms and alleviate its more serious potential side effects.
A home sleep study is one of the most accurate methods of diagnosing and understanding sleep apnea.