When you get into bed after a long day, the last thing you should be thinking about is how well you’re going to be able to sleep. An average adult needs about eight hours of sleep every night, and that amount is necessary in order to recharge the body. But if the body doesn’t properly rest during that time, it could be potentially dangerous, and cause even worse health issues down the road. For those suffering from sleep apnea, the health risks can be quite high, particularly if it is untreated. But it is fairly simple to get checked out, diagnosed, and treated.
What exactly is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when, during sleep, the breathing becomes irregular, to the point that there are periods when breathing pauses completely. Approximately 18 million Americans have one of the three types of the disorder.
- Central sleep apnea
This type of sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to send out the correct signals to muscles involved in the breathing process.
- Obstructive sleep apnea
This form of the disorder is the most prevalent among those suffering from sleep apnea. It occurs when muscles in the throat relax and block the upper airway.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome The third type of the condition is also called treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, and it is characterized by the presence of both the above forms.
Red flags that can alert you or a loved one to the existence of the condition could be excessive snoring, waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat, irregular sleeping patterns, and waking up short of breath.
Treating sleep apnea
If any of the above symptoms present themselves, it’s best to get checked out right away. About 2% to 4% of people across the country have sleep apnea and remain undiagnosed. That may sound like a low percentage, but that’s about one in every 50 people. And untreated cases can lead to individuals being three times more likely to develop heart disease, and four times more likely to experience a stroke. Avoidable risks, when the treatment is so easy. CPAP machines help people with the disorder to sleep and breathe better. CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure machines, keep breathing steady with constant air pressure through a hose and nose piece or mask. It may take time to find the best CPAP mask, as everyone is different. The best CPAP masks will not keep you awake with any level of discomfort, but let you drift into dream world with the peace of mind that you will continue to breathe.
Sleep apnea can be very serious, but it doesn’t have to lead to the scary health issues everyone wants to avoid at all costs. The best CPAP masks, whether a full face mask, a nasal mask, or a nasal pillow, can save your life.