According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, studies have established that sleep apnea generally reduces life expectancy by several years. It's time to pay attention to the risks of sleep apnea, as women begin to outperform men in apnea rates after menopause, Jun. Other patients may wake up with a dry mouth, as sleep apnea tends to cause you to breathe with your mouth open and dry your saliva. Sleep apnea is also related to epilepsy and seizures, although those links are more difficult to establish, especially when it comes to central sleep apnea (CSA).
Because of the physical, cognitive, and psychological damage this sleep disorder can cause over time if not treated properly, undiagnosed sleep apnea can affect your well-being and increase your risk of death. Good quality sleep also allows the body's daytime functions to rest, which is not much different from that of a computer in sleep mode (no pun intended), paving the way for certain essential functions to perform unhindered. Don't forget that sleep apnea also often causes people with this condition to snore or make wheezing noises during sleep, which can also affect and disturb your partner's sleep. In particular, undiagnosed sleep apnea is directly related to an increased risk to cardiovascular and metabolic health.
Because the primary symptoms of sleep apnea (pauses in breathing and the wheezing and snoring that may accompany them) occur during sleep, many people with sleep apnea may not even realize what's happening. Weight loss, lifestyle changes and sleeping positions can result in quieter nights for those with snoring or sleep apnea. In reality, it is not possible to calculate exactly how much less or how long a person with untreated sleep apnea will live compared to the average life expectancy. If you have risk factors for sleep apnea and haven't been diagnosed yet, your doctor will recommend that you undergo a polysomnogram (sleep study) to determine if you have sleep apnea or not and what its severity may be.
You can plan to sleep eight hours or more and you may even think you're getting it, but if you have untreated sleep apnea, those hours are constantly interrupted because your body wakes you up to breathe. Research shows that mortality risks are higher in people with sleep apnea because it disrupts circadian rhythms, alters chemistry between the body and brain, increases blood pressure, alters heart and respiratory function, and elevates heart rate. There is no average age at which a person develops sleep apnea, but overall, about 3 percent of men between the ages of 20 and 44 have some form of this condition. The likelihood of heart-related death was more than five times greater among people with severe untreated sleep apnea than among those without the condition.