Is sleep killing you?
By ROB JOHNSON
Chances are that you know someone that suffers from sleep apnea, even if they don’t know it themselves. It has been estimated that 1 in 25 men and 1 in 50 women suffer from this condition, and most don’t know it. Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. The “apnea” in sleep apnea refers to a breathing pause that lasts at least ten seconds, when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open while you are sleeping. The more severe the sleep apnea, the greater there is a risk of developing heart disease or dying. A study of sleep apnea showed a person’s risk of having a heart attack or dying increased by 30 per cent over a period of four to five years. The more severe the sleep apnea at the beginning of the study, the greater the risk of developing heart disease or dying was found. In another study it was shown that diabetes and sleep problems often go hand in hand, diabetes cause sleep loss, and there’s evidence that not sleeping well can increase your risk of developing diabetes. Additionally, people with sleep apnea tend to suffer from sleeplessness and wide range of other symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, depression, irritability, sexual dysfunction, learning, and memory difficulties. Falling asleep while at work, on the phone, or driving, is another side effect.
The best way to see if you suffer from sleep apnea is to ask yourself these questions:
Am I always tired and need to take naps during the day?
Do I snore, and does my snoring seem excessive and does it disturb others?
Has your bed partner said that you stop breathing during the night and gasp for air when you start up again?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then check with your doctor .
For more information, http://www.bc.lung.ca/lungdiseases/sleep_apnea.html