Approximately four percent of men, two percent of women and two percent of young children suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. During sleep, when the soft tissue throat structures relax to the point of resting against the back of the throat, air flow is temporarily blocked until the brain wakes the body enough to force air through the passageway.
This process may repeat hundreds of time throughout the night, prohibiting the body and the brain from reaching and sustaining the level of deep sleep necessary to obtain adequate rest. This condition is called obstructive sleep apnea and, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems.
When the air passageway is blocked, the body experiences a sudden drop in oxygen which creates an increase in blood pressure that causes the heart to work harder. Sleep apnea is a potentially life threatening condition. If sleep apnea is left untreated, it increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction (heart attack), myocardial arrhythmia (irregular heart beat)--just to name a few.
Even if you only have a few of the listed symptoms--don't wait to talk to your physician about them. Make an appointment today!