Sleep apnea poses life-threatening risks

Sleep apnea poses life-threatening risks

(NewsUSA)- Obstructive sleep apnea--a condition that causes the body to frequently stop breathing during sleep--increases a person's risk of having a stroke or dying prematurely, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"Because of these high risks, recognizing the symptoms of sleep apnea early is critical to reducing the risk of stroke," said Dr. Lawrence Epstein, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). "If you think you are at risk for sleep apnea, you should see a sleep specialist at an AASM-accredited sleep center."
Sleep specialists at AASM-accredited sleep centers will review your history and symptoms. If needed, they will schedule you for an overnight sleep study called a polysomnogram, which will help evaluate your problem and assess an individual treatment plan.
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway narrows or collapses repeatedly during sleep, causing the body to stop breathing. It is accompanied by snoring and causes the sleeper to wake and gasp for breath before going back to sleep.
Central sleep apnea is less common and occurs when a brain signal that instructs the body to breathe is delayed.
Often, sleep apnea can be caused by improper sleep posture or obesity, and can be treated with weight loss or continuous positive air pressure therapy (CPAP), a treatment in which air is delivered through a mask worn over the nose.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, signs of the condition include:
* snoring;
* gasping for air during sleep;
* sleeplessness or inability to concentrate during the day;
* irritability;
* personality changes or mood swings;
* headaches, sore throat or dry mouth in the morning;
* memory problems.
For more information on sleep apnea or to find a sleep center near you, visit www.sleepeducation.com