Sleep Apnea is a life-threatening disorder that is characterized by pauses or lapses in breathing that prevent air from either flowing in or out of a person’s airway. These pauses can reduce blood oxygen levels, which can strain the heart and cardiovascular system. Often, patients with hypertension or cardiac issues who do not respond to medications or lifestyle changes are likely experiencing sleep-disordered breathing (or Sleep Apnea).
Some facts regarding Americans and sleep:
- 17% of licensed drivers in the U.S., or approximately 32 million people, said they’ve fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in the last year (NSF 2005 Sleep in America poll). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 100,000 police-reported crashes, which result in more than 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries, are caused by drowsy drivers each year.
- One-quarter of American adults, or 47 million people, don’t get the minimum amount of sleep they say they need to be alert the next day. Recommendations for most adults is somewhere between 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night (NSF 2002 Sleep in America poll).
- The most common sleep-related problem is snoring (NSF 2005 Sleep in America poll), which can be a symptom of a serious sleep disorder called Sleep Apnea.
- New research indicates that Sleep Apnea is now an independent risk factor for stroke.
Although the brain remains active, sleep time is your body’s opportunity to rest and recharge each night. People with sleep disorders tend to minimize the implications of such disorders on long-term health and life. But left untreated, these are conditions that contribute to increased mortality and morbidity.
The bottom line? If you or someone you know may have Sleep Apnea, talk to a doctor about getting tested!
To schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified physicians or to schedule a diagnostic test to determine if you may have Sleep Apnea or another sleep disorder, please call 202.877.1683.
Learn more about the Sleep Center at NRH