Sleep apnea: Get informed

Sleep apnea is still a little known pathology although it affects about 22 million Americans. The main causes of sleep apnea are excess weight and increasing age (the condition occurs more frequently in older adults).

What is sleep apnea?

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a little known disease; common risk factors are excess weight (causing a thickening of the throat walls) and age, as this condition occurs more frequently in older adults. People over the age of 65 are three times more likely to develop sleep apnea than other categories of the population because the throat muscles are less toned and relaxed, preventing the passage of air.

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Sleep apnea is characterized by involuntary stops of breathing during sleep, which reduces the oxygenation of the body and causes the patient to wake up. A patient with sleep apnea has difficulty sleeping. During the day, they may often feel tired, have difficulty concentrating, and suffer from headaches.

The risk factors

Age and weight are risk factors for developing sleep apnea. Men are 2 to 3 times more affected than women. Heredity, nasal obstruction, alcohol consumption, certain medications, as well as possible respiratory tract abnormalities are common factors that promote sleep disorders.

Symptoms and complications of sleep apnea

The fatigue that patients feels manifests itself as soon as they wake up. During the day, they often experience drowsiness that often leads to uncontrolled bouts of falling asleep, which can be dangerous (car, machines).

Patients who are go undiagnosed and, thus, do not know the cause of their fatigue, can feel irritable, suffer memory problems, and experience depression. Studies have shown that one in five women with sleep apnea syndrome suffer from depression.

Nevertheless, it is estimated that a majority of individuals are still undiagnosed and do not know the cause of their fatigue.

Published Apr 13, 2017

avatar Carenity Editorial Team

Author: Carenity Editorial Team, Editorial Team

The Carenity Editorial Team is made up of experienced editors and specialists in the healthcare field who aim to provide impartial and high quality information. Our editorial content is proofread, edited and... >> Learn more

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