Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when something either completely or partially blocks a person’s upper airway while sleeping, according to WebMD. The disruption impairs a person’s ability to sleep soundly and can result in some more serious health complications over the long term
When a person suffers from this condition, his or her breath becomes shallow. Indeed, a person may even stop breathing all together for a brief period of time. Although this disrupts a person’s sleep patterns, an individual usually is generally unaware of what is happening. The reality is that is the person has a bed partner, that other individual will be more aware of these disruptions than is the person actually suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
There are a number of interesting facts associated with obstructive sleep apnea. Three of these are significant.
A Majority of People Do Not Know They Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea
One of the interesting facts about obstructive sleep apnea is that most people who have the condition do not realize they have it. Research indicates that at least 9 percent of adult women and 24 percent of adult men have sleep apnea. Upwards to 80 percent of women and men with sleep apnea do not know they have the condition. Sleep apnea goes undiagnosed all together.
One of the telling physical signs oftentimes connected with obstructive sleep apnea is obesity. Overweight individuals are more likely than thinner individuals to be diagnosed with sleep apnea, according to Center for Dental Sleep Medicine.
Because so few people are diagnosed with sleep apnea, they are not receiving proper treatment. As a result, their condition tends to worsen and lead to other health problems in some cases.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Sometimes is Misdiagnosed
The rate of misdiagnosis is another interesting fact associated with obstructive sleep apnea. In some cases, a person suffering from obstructive sleep apnea receives a misdiagnosis, according to the Cleveland Clinic. In other words, when a diagnosis actually is made based upon a patient’s complaint, a doctor makes an incorrect diagnosis.
The primary reason misdiagnosis occurs with relative frequency is because the symptoms of the condition are so broad. A person may suffer from sleep disruptions that he or she is not even aware of at the time. He or she may be aware of depression, fatigue, dry mouth, sore throat and problems concentration. However, these are not always readily connected with sleep apnea.
The wrong course of treatment oftentimes commences. For example, a person with sleep apnea may end up being treated for depression. When that occurs, even though he or she ends up being treated for depression, it does not abate. However, once a proper diagnosis of sleep apnea is made, and it is treated, the associated depression usually resolves at the same time as well.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Can Have Serious Medical Consequences
A final interesting fact associated with sleep apnea is its connection to other medical conditions and ailments. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can end up doing more than just disrupting a person’s sleep. It can end up doing more than causing fatigue and impacting a person’s ability to concentrate a function efficiently during the day. Ultimately, obstructive sleep apnea can elevate a person’s risk for stroke, diabetes and heart attack. The earliest possible intervention works to reduce the risk of these types of ailments when a person suffers from obstructive sleep apnea.