Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders have become an increasingly important health concern in the United States. Associated with obesity, depression, and other health concerns, sleep apnea occurs when your airway is blocked by throat tissue or not activated properly by the brain during sleep. Unfortunately, many of those who suffer from this condition have not received an official diagnosis and are therefore not pursuing the treatment they need.
Sleep apnea affects an estimated nine percent of women and 24 percent of men. Although this disorder is treatable and preventable, at least 80 percent of those with moderate to severe sleep apnea are currently undiagnosed. This is dangerous because untreated sleep apnea can also cause high blood pressure, stroke, chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and other cardiovascular complications, in addition to making accidents more likely.
Because of the dangerous consequences of untreated sleep apnea, obtaining an accurate diagnosis is essential for those with this condition. Studies have determined that patients with undiagnosed sleep apnea have considerably higher overall medical costs that correlate with the severity of their sleep-disordered breathing. Other studies indicate that undiagnosed sleep apnea may cause systemic hypertension in middle and older-aged men especially. Furthermore, researchers estimate that estimate that untreated sleep apnea creates approximately $3.4 billion in additional medical costs in the United States.
If you are male, over the age of 40, or overweight, you are at an even higher risk level for developing sleep apnea. Additionally, if any of your family members have chronic sleep disorders, you are more likely to experience one as well. If you are experience trouble sleeping on a regular basis, it is very important that you see your doctor to discuss the possibility of sleep apnea and to consider the solutions that would work best for you.
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