Did you feel tired on your commute to work this morning, even though you had more than one cup of joe? Did you get irritated at your coworker for no reason? Did your spouse tell you that you were snoring again last night? If so, you may have obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that can have serious consequences if not treated. Read on to learn 10 surprising facts about this condition.
An Overview of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a disorder characterized by episodes of not breathing during sleep. Your airway becomes blocked by tissues in the mouth and throat collapsing. You then have trouble breathing and may wake up in the night gasping for air. Although you might not remember these episodes, they can rob you of the restful sleep you need, leaving you feeling tired throughout the day.
Symptoms of OSA
Constant tiredness is not the only sign that you may have OSA. Other common symptoms include:
- Waking up with a dry or sore throat
- Morning headaches
- Loud snoring
- Sleepiness while driving
- Restless sleep
- Mood swings, forgetfulness, or depression
Risks of Untreated OSA
If any of the above symptoms describe you, see your dentist or doctor as soon as possible to get tested. Going too long without treating OSA can lead to health complications such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease and stroke
- High blood pressure
Surprising Facts About OSA
Here are 10 interesting facts about OSA that you should know:
- At least 22 million Americans have OSA.
- It’s estimated that more than 80 percent of all sleep apnea cases go undiagnosed.
- You can have OSA and not snore, and you can snore but not have OSA.
- If you’re irritable during the day for no apparent reason, you may have sleep apnea.
- People with OSA may wake up gasping for air more than 30 times an hour during the night.
- Women are eight times less likely to receive a sleep apnea diagnosis.
- Risk factors for sleep apnea include being male, overweight, and middle-aged or older.
- Up to 4 percent of children have sleep apnea, but it’s commonly misdiagnosed as ADHD.
- Untreated OSA can have potentially fatal side effects.
- It’s possible to treat sleep apnea by making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption before bed.
If you think you might have obstructive sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to call your doctor or dentist today. It could save your life.
About the Author
Dr. David G. Banda earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Michigan in 1986. Since then, he has received awards from various organizations such as the International Congress of Oral Implantologists and the Academy of General Dentistry. If you think you have obstructive sleep apnea in the Bloomfield Hills, MI area, please contact Dr. Banda here or call (248)-647-5434 to get treated.