Snoring is mostly a problem for the bed partner who has to wake the snorer or move to another bedroom. Usually, nighttime snorers have no serious ill effects other than daytime drowsiness and fatigue. The snoring only shows that tissue has relaxed in the airways to the point where incoming and outgoing air is causing a noisy vibration. However, when the snoring is caused by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the air passage has either a complete or partial obstruction which causes a cessation of breathing severe enough to bring about significant health problems. Unfortunately, only 10% of the people who suffer from this condition receive medical treatment.
Of the four leading causes of death for residents of Winter Park, FL, sleep apnea can be associated with three of them: 70 percent of strokes, 60 percent of heart disease, and 50 percent of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease deaths (COPD) have obstructive sleep apnea. Furthermore, high blood pressure, which frequently results from OSA, affects 25 percent of the population, and it can lead to heart attacks, blindness, stroke, heart failure, and kidney failure.
When a person experiences an episode of apnea where airflow is obstructed, there is a sudden drop in blood pressure. These breathing cessations or apnea can occur as frequently as 60 times an hour or up to 400 times a night, disrupting healthy sleep and threatening the patient’s health and well-being. People awaken in the morning without feeling refreshed, and it hinders their ability to concentrate and perform throughout the day along with the added health risks.
Obstructive sleep apnea contributes to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, hypertension, and strokes. The rates for heart failure and stroke increase substantially in people suffering from OSA. Patients who have irregular heartbeats such as atrial fibrillation experience more relapses after treatment if they have obstructive sleep apnea. When apnea (breathing cessation) is taking place during sleep, sudden drops in blood oxygen levels occur which strain the cardiovascular system. Because these repetitive breathing cessations occur hundreds of times nightly, people are two to three times more likely to develop high blood pressure from OSA. In turn, the risk rises for hypertension (high blood pressure) with the severity of the obstructive sleep apnea. Also, strokes are common with this sleep disorder even if the person doesn’t have high blood pressure.
Obstructive sleep apnea patients are more likely to experience complications with medication, surgery, and metabolic syndrome. After major surgery, these patients who are sedated and lying on their backs need to be monitored closely. It is very important that the doctor is aware of the condition. Metabolic syndrome (also called syndrome X) is more common among patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Metabolic syndrome is a group of abnormalities that cause insulin resistance which can progress to type 2 diabetes.
Other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in Winter Park, FL patients are depression, mood changes, irritability, and poor memory. In addition, people suffering from this sleep disorder are three times more likely to have automobile accidents. It has been estimated that billions of dollars could be saved if people would seek treatment for their obstructive sleep apnea.