Severe Sleep Apnea is a medical condition where a person experiences frequent and prolonged interruptions in breathing during sleep. Specifically, Severe Sleep Apnea is diagnosed when a person experiences more than 30 breathing pauses, known as apneas, per hour of sleep. These pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to more than a minute and happen many times throughout the night, making it hard to sleep.
Causes of Severe Sleep Apnea
The most common cause of Severe Sleep Apnea is partial or complete airway blockage during sleep, which several factors, including obesity, enlarged tonsils, a small or recessed jaw, or structural abnormalities in the nose or throat, can cause.
Severe Sleep Apnea can cause various symptoms, including loud snoring, gasping or choking during sleep, restless sleep, daytime fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. If left untreated, Severe Sleep Apnea can increase the risk of serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and even death.
Treatment of Severe Sleep Apnea
To treat Severe Sleep Apnea, a combination of lifestyle changes and medical interventions may be required. Lifestyle changes may include weight loss, and avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bed. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, which includes wearing a mask that delivers a constant flow of air to keep the airway open while sleeping, may be used as a medical intervention.
In some cases, problems with the airway structure may need to be fixed through surgery. A healthcare professional can help determine the best course of treatment based on a person's needs and circumstances.
How Dangerous is Severe Sleep Apnea?
Severe Sleep Apnea can be a serious medical condition that, if left untreated, can increase the risk of developing several health problems. When you stop breathing repeatedly while you sleep, the oxygen in your body drops. This can put stress on your heart and other organs.
Here are some of the health risks associated with Severe Sleep Apnea:
High blood pressure: Severe Sleep Apnea is associated with high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Heart disease: Severe Sleep Apnea is a risk factor for several types of heart disease, including irregular heartbeats, heart failure, and coronary artery disease.
Stroke: People with Severe Sleep Apnea are at an increased risk of stroke, which occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted.
Type 2 diabetes: Severe Sleep Apnea is linked with a high risk of having type 2 diabetes.
Depression: Severe Sleep Apnea can increase the risk of depression, leading to physical and emotional symptoms.
Cognitive impairment: People with Severe Sleep Apnea may experience cognitive impairment, including memory problems and difficulty concentrating.
It is important to note that not everyone with Severe Sleep Apnea will develop these health problems. However, Severe Sleep Apnea can increase the risk of developing these and other serious health conditions if left untreated.
Speaking with a healthcare professional if you suspect you or a loved one may have Severe Sleep Apnea is important. Treatment can help reduce symptoms and lower the risk of developing complications.