I think we can all agree that sometimes there is truly nothing more satisfying than a good nights sleep. When we are asleep, we feel safe and impregnable as we are snuggled under a soft blanket, lost in a dream as our brain and body are given a chance to relax and rejuvenate. Sleep is vital for an individuals health but when your sleep cycle is constantly disrupted there can be many dangerous consequences. Sleep apnea, a chronic disorder, interrupts sleep as ones breathing motions are paused up to 20 seconds. This causes them to snore, constantly wake up feeling short of breath, as well as choking or grasping for air in the middle of the night.
Sleep apnea happens when the airways in the lungs are either blocked or the soft tissue in the upper airway of the throat collapses, which restricts oxygen from flowing throughout the body. A persons diaphragm and chest are coerced to work harder in order for the lungs to receive oxygen. The brain and lungs don’t receive enough oxygen and it becomes difficult to breath because the brain doesn’t trigger when it is necessary to breath. The majority of the people with sleep apnea are overweight, middle aged men who have encountered a history with excessive drinking and smoking. Other risk factors that could potentially lead to sleep apnea is sleeping on your back, as well as enlarged tonsils. Sleep apnea isn’t just associated with men; nine percent of women and five percent of children are diagnosed with sleep apnea. Something so minuscule like snoring is perceived to be a minor problem but sleep apnea is an extremely dangerous disorder. Since airways are blocked blood vessels have a difficult time providing for the heart. This increased the risk of high blood pressure which leads to heart diseases as well as strokes. Those with obstructive sleep apnea also become over-tired because they aren’t getting effective sleeps so they have poor concentration, weaker immune systems, and a greater difficulty to learn.
A study was conducted by Daniel J Gotllieb to discover if sleep apnea is linked with heart failure. This longitudinal observational study is definitely reliable considering the high sample size of 1927 men and 2495 women who are over 40 years old and tests were for run for nine years. The null hypothesis states that there is no relationship between coronary heart disease and obstructive sleep apnea. The alternative hypothesis is individuals with obstructive sleep apnea have a greater risk of having heart failure. In this study, the null hypothesis was rejected because men who have sleep apnea were 58 percent more likely to have heart failure. The cause of this was due to the nocturnal blood pressure elevation during ones sleep apnea. The study revealed middle aged men with sleep apnea had a greater risk of cardiovascular problems and heart failures opposed to women.
Another study revealed how sleep apnea negatively effects a child’s cognitive potential. They sampled 19 kids with obstructive sleep apnea and 12 kids who were healthy sleepers in order to see if there was evidence that kids with sleep apnea have problems learning, focusing and decision making. After the kids were given neuropsychological tests, researches concluded that brain cells were damaged, as there was severe changes in metabolites inside the brain of kids with with obstructive sleep apnea. This caused those kids to perform weaker on IQ test as well as decision making tests. The effects of an interrupted sleep cycle has negative effects on the learning of children and ultimately their future success. Obstructive sleep apnea alters their decision making and has led to an increased chance of ADHD as well as behavior problems. This will cause them to get easily distracted and make it hard to focus which impacts them tremendously in school. The control group in this study had no patients with ADHD because which could be a factor that could have helped determining a stronger correlation between sleep apnea and ADHD.
Sleep apnea may be overlooked and under diagnosed but is a very dangerous disease that people must be aware of. Snoring, daytime fatigue,quick wake-ups, and restlessness during sleep may seem insignificant as well as un-harmful but is extremely dangerous. Since there is a correlation between sleep apnea and body weight as-well as health, to an extent this disease can be preventable if a person makes life-style changes like eating healthier and reducing the use of alcohol and drugs which will lower the chance of obtaining obstructive sleep apnea.