This week is National Sleep Awareness Week, part of National Sleep Awareness Month all March! During this week, organizations throughout the country including Sleep Services of America (SSA) are promoting the benefits of getting a good night’s rest. But many people are dealing with quite the opposite.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a chronic condition where a person repeatedly stops or nearly stops breathing while asleep. During this condition, the airway in the throat collapses, preventing air from reaching the lungs. Many people living with OSA do not realize they have this condition, but studies show that four in 100 middle-aged men and two in 100 middle-aged women are living with OSA, with nearly 80% of those cases going undiagnosed and untreated.
So what should you know about OSA and what should you do if you think you may have it? With the help of SSA, we’ve put together the key things to consider.
What are the common symptoms of OSA?
The most common symptoms include: snoring, excessive daytime tiredness, morning headaches, shortness of breath while waking up, recent weight gain or loss, high blood pressure, and experiencing frequent heartburn, among others.
If any of these sound like they pertain to you, take the sleep quiz found in the patient resources page at Sleep Services of America.
How harmful is OSA?
Naturally, the short term effects are excessive drowsiness and fatigue through the course of the day. But if not treated, OSA can cause serious problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease or even heart attack and stroke.
I think I may have OSA, what do I do now?
If you think you have OSA, it’s recommended to visit your primary care physician first to gather more information about your potential condition. If you do, you could be referred to a sleep disorders center, or a sleep lab, where you can be tested and, if diagnosed, properly treated.
How can I have my OSA treated?
The most popular treatment for OSA is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy. During this therapy, you would be prescribed with a CPAP machine and face mask, which provides a gentle flow of positive air pressure at a recommended setting to reach the blocked nasal airways while sleeping.
What to Know about Obstructive Sleep Apnea,