Snoring vs. Sleep Apnea – Why should you care?

Did you know that 80% of people with Sleep Apnea go undiagnosed?  Millions of people ignore their problem, thinking it’s “only snoring”. However, Sleep Apnea left untreated can worst-case scenario lead to death. So many people consider this problem to be a mild to moderate nuisance (unless, of course you sleep with someone who snores!)  Sleep Apnea is a problem that threatens your life and should not be taken lightly. While total number of deaths due to Sleep Apnea are hard to record, research cited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that left untreated, Sleep Apnea can lead to:

  • Increased risk of Cancer, more than 4 times
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Higher rate of death due to heart disease
  • Heart Attacks
  • Diabetes due to impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance
  • Impaired concentration
  • Falling asleep at work or behind the wheel of your car
  • Mood changes
  • Gastric Reflux (GERD)
  • Increased risk of being involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident
  • Weight gain and the inability to lose weight

Yes, it’s much more serious than you think. With potential health complications such as increased risk of stroke and higher rate of death due to heart disease, we at Zyppah think it is important to give more information on this widely misunderstood medical condition.

So what exactly is Sleep Apnea?  Many of us have heard the term, used it in passing, but may not fully understand what Sleep Apnea actually means.  The American Academy of Sleep Medicine defines Sleep Apnea as a “sleep-related breathing disorder that involves a decrease or complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breathe… It occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing the tongue and soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway.” In other words, as your body rests and you attempt to sleep, something is blocking your airway.  That something in most cases is your tongue, but could also be a buildup of fatty tissue, excess weight or other problems.  Whatever the reason, this blockage causes you to stop breathing up to 10-30 seconds at a time, and in some cases for 1 minute or longer.