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Sleep Apnea & Quality of Life

Posted on 9/21/2020 by Dr. Wendy Spektor
Sleep Apnea & Quality of LifeMany people do not understand the potentially devastating consequences of sleep apnea or, worse still, they may believe that "Sleep Apnea" is just scientific mumbo-jumbo for snoring. Those who suffer from sleep apnea experience negative ripple effects all through their lives on their general health and well being, which often has an impact on their family and work relationships and performance. Sleep apnea is much more than snoring; it is a serious condition that should be treated by a trained professional.

Sleep Apnea is a sleeping disorder that adversely affects the breathing cycles of the sleeper. An "apnea" is when there are long pauses between breaths. An apnea occurance can last seconds or minutes and cause the sleeper to have very low quality sleep. This low quality sleep usually makes the sufferer experience a feeling of sleepiness throughout the day that they never completely escape until the sleep apnea has been successfully treated. Unfortunately, the newest findings on sleep apnea teach us that the adverse effects are even worse then we previously knew.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute untreated sleep apnea can:

  • Increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes
  • Increase the risk of, or worsen, heart failure
  • Make arrhythmias (ah-RITH-me-ahs), or irregular heartbeats, more likely
  • Increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents

The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine recently released a study in which it was found that:

Specifically, 1.81 percent of people with no sleep apnea died over the study period, 2.18 percent of people with mild sleep apnea died, 3.54 percent of people with moderate sleep apnea died and 4.2 percent of people with severe sleep apnea died.

These numbers indicate that, in a case of moderate sleep apnea, the sufferer was two times as likely to die as members of the general population during the period of the study; with severe sleep apnea, the sufferer was two and a half times as likely to die as someone with no sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea cannot be diagnosed easily, and treatment is tailored to the individual. If you, or a loved one, might be experiencing sleep apnea it is essential for your well being, and the well being of your friends and family, to seek treatment from a trained professional as soon as possible.

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