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Don’t Lose Sleep Over Sleep Apnea

1 in 3 Singaporeans suffer from Sleep Apnea.

 

What is sleep apnea? What causes it? And how do you know you have it if symptoms only occur when you’re fast asleep?

 

Read on find out everything you need to know about one of the world’s most common sleep disorders.  

What is sleep apnea?

 

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing for short periods of time during the night.

  

It may wake you up repeatedly, cause you to choke or leave you feeling short of breath

 

The symptoms of sleep apnea

 

Not all individuals with sleep apnea wake up each time their breathing stops. So how else can you know if you have it?

 

You may:

 

  • Wake up with a dry mouth or sore throat

  • Wake up with a headache

  • Feel excessively sleepy during the day (hypersomnia), which may cause you to fall asleep while working, watching television or driving

  • Struggle to focus on tasks

  • Feel irritable and cranky

 

 If you sleep with your partner, they may also notice you:

 

  • Snore loudly

  • Choke while asleep

  • Occasionally stop breathing while asleep

 

The different types of sleep apnea

 

Obstructive sleep apnea

Caused by: Structural Obstruction of your airway due your mouth or throat muscles relaxing.  

 

Central sleep apnea

Caused by: Your brain not sending the right signals to your breathing muscles

 

Complex sleep apnea syndrome

Caused by: A combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea

 

Did you know?

 

Sleep apnea can affect anyone, including children.

 

1 in 3 Singaporeans have sleep apnea, although most don’t know they have it.

 

During an average night’s sleep, someone with sleep apnea may experience 60 breathing pauses per hour. That’s an average of 400 pauses per night!

 

You are 4x more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea if you are obese.

 

You’re at a higher risk of obstructive sleep apnea if you have a neck circumference bigger than 17 inches (men) or 15 inches (women).

 

A naturally narrow throat or a congested nose can contribute to the condition.

 

Men are 2x as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than women, although the risks for women do rise after menopause.

 

Substances like alcohol, sedatives or tranquilisers can make obstructive sleep apnea worse.

 

Narcotic pain medications like methadone increase your risk of central sleep apnea.

 

Smokers are 3x more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than people who've never smoked. One easy way to reduce your risk is to quit smoking. 

 

Your risk of sleep apnea increases with age and if you have a family history of the condition.

 

People with have congestive heart failure or who have had a stroke are at a higher risk of developing central sleep apnea.

 

Sleep apnea affects your days

 

Many people don’t consider a sleep disorder to be a serious condition. But if you have sleep apnea, you may find it impossible to enjoy a good night’s sleep.

 

You may struggle through each day feeling drowsy, exhausted and irritated, unable to concentrate on basic tasks like working, watching TV or driving.

 

It’s no surprise that statistically, people with sleep apnea are more likely to be in a car accident.

 

Sleep apnea affects your mood

 

 

It’s common to feel quick-tempered, moody or depressed with sleep apnea. That’s why many children with sleep apnea underperform at school and misbehave at home.

 

Don’t forget your partner! Noisy snoring linked to sleep apnea can leave your loved one feeling sleep-deprived and irritable as well.

 

Sleep apnea affects your long-term health

 

 

Each time you stop breathing, the oxygen levels in your blood drop (hypoxia). Over time, this puts strain on your heart and increases your blood pressure.

 

Left untreated, high blood pressure linked to sleep apnea could eventually trigger a life-threatening condition like an irregular heartbeat, heart attack or stroke.

 

People with sleep apnea are also more likely to develop:

 

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, high blood sugar and weight gain)

  • Complications following major surgery

  • Liver problems like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

 

 

Say goodnight to sleep apnea for good

 

Many people don’t think snoring or feeling tired are legitimate reasons to visit the doctor. But it’s always best to get checked out if you’re at all concerned about your sleeping patterns.

 

Once you know you have sleep apnea, you can begin treating the condition using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or another treatment recommended by your doctor.

 

Put yourself first. Find out more about the diagnosis and treatment process for sleep apnea now.

 

Concerned you may have sleep apnea?