The importance of sleep has been emphasized for years now, because of its positive effects on your health. Unfortunately, there are factors that can interrupt an otherwise peaceful sleep and cause unwanted complications. For some, sleep disturbance can be caused by snoring. This is a hoarse or harsh sound that develops when breathing is obstructed in some way during sleep.
About half of us may snore at some point in our lives. Snoring tends to be more common in men, although women snore too. Snoring usually runs in families and becomes more common as people get older.1 However, snoring shouldn’t be dismissed as a normal nightly occurrence, because it may be a sign of a disease called sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea, which was named after a Greek word meaning “want of breath,”2 occurs when an obstruction in the airway causes impaired breathing during sleep. There are four types of sleep apnea:
- Central sleep apnea (CSA)
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
- Upper airway respiratory syndrome (UARS)
- Mixed sleep apnea
Sleep apnea can affect both children and adults, and it actually manifests in more than half of all elderly men and over a quarter of women. Different causes of sleep apnea have been determined, and these include factors such as mechanical problems, poor nutrition and existing disease, to name a few.3
Sleep Apnea by the Numbers
Statistics show that OSA affects 6 percent of adults and 2 percent of children, meaning 18 million Americans have this type of sleep apnea. Even worse, around 4 percent of Americans may already be suffering from OSA, but haven’t been given an official diagnosis.4
Meanwhile, 2016 data from the Berger Henry ENT Specialty Group showed that 1 in 5 adults have mild OSA, while 1 in 15 have moderate to severe OSA. Research from the University of California, San Diego, also pointed out that African-Americans have a higher OSA risk compared to Caucasians.5
Sleepiness and lack of concentration are one of the many negative side effects of sleep apnea, and these can make a person more likely to be involved in a car accident, and six times more likely to die from this incident. It’s said that sleepy drivers are responsible for 100,000 car accidents, 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths annually.
You Can Address Sleep Apnea as Early as Now
It’s never too early to lower your and your loved ones’ risk of sleep apnea. Browse these pages and be informed about sleep apnea’s common symptoms and causes, as well as the natural treatments and lifestyle changes that may help you address and prevent this disease.