Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can have a devastating effect on your life expectancy, reducing it by up to 15 years if left untreated. However, with the right diagnosis and treatment, you can alleviate the effects of OSA and ensure that it does not shorten your life. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), more than 55.6 million Americans over the age of 40 suffer from repeated nocturnal snoring and awakenings due to obstructive sleep apnea, which is often linked to obesity and age. It is essential to be diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea as soon as you experience symptoms.
Children can inherit facial features such as a sunken chin, large tonsils, or a large overbite, which put them at risk for OSA. A recent Harvard study found that those with untreated sleep apnea are at risk of cutting decades off their life expectancy. Sacrificing sleep in order to get some relaxation time after a long day can be detrimental. A sleep study center can record oxygen levels in your blood, air movement while you breathe, brain waves, chest movements, and heart rate. Most studies on sleep apnea and mortality have involved patients referred for clinical evaluation of sleep diagnosis; the risk of sleep apnea mortality in the general population has not been previously reported. Adam Amdur, 41, from Sarasota, Florida, believes he has had sleep apnea since childhood, although doctors didn't diagnose the condition until he was 35. The 13-year study revealed that those who did not treat their sleep apnea with a CPAP machine had a 38 percent higher risk of heart failure than those who did.
Sleep apnea occurs when muscles relax during sleep, causing the soft tissues in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airways. People with untreated OSA are more likely to have a heart attack, twice as likely to have a stroke, and more than triple the risk of premature death. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, up to 4 percent of children have OSA, including some who are only 2 years old. Philips Respironics has recalled several sleep apnea machines from the market due to concerns that people will inhale cancer-causing chemicals through a foam in devices. If you are experiencing any symptoms of OSA such as snoring or difficulty breathing during sleep, it is important to seek medical attention right away. A qualified sleep specialist can help diagnose your condition and provide treatment options that can help you live a longer life.
Treatment options may include lifestyle changes such as weight loss or quitting smoking, as well as medical devices such as CPAP machines or oral appliances. With proper diagnosis and treatment, you can reduce your risk of premature death due to OSA.