The difference between sleep apnea and snoring is that the former is a cause, while the latter can be its result. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that must be treated immediately because it has significant effects in the body. A person with sleep apnea will stop breathing for a few seconds, which could happen as much as 50 times during the night. This will cause the person to become tired and tired during the day, as these breathing breaks briefly wake them up in the middle of the night to catch their breath. Snoring on the other hand is also a sleep disorder resulting from airway congestion or blockage. Sleep apnea can cause snoring, but other factors such as enlarged tonsils and enlarged adenoids can also cause this disorder.
Most people will not know if they simply snore or if they have sleep apnea, since it occurs while they are asleep. A bed partner can provide insightful feedback. If the individual snores, it does not mean that he or she has sleep apnea. If a doctor diagnoses a person with sleep apnea, he or she can recommend treatment right away because it could cause more serious illnesses in the future.
What are the health consequences of Sleep Apnea?
- High blood pressure
Nearly 40% of people with high blood pressure also suffer from sleep apnea. This figure rises to 80% when it comes to people taking 3 or 4 prescription drugs to lower their blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure and sleep apnea, starting treatment may help you lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. But treatment with CPAP cannot replace your treatment for high blood pressure.
- Cardiovascular diseases
Untreated sleep apnea fatigues the heart and can cause it to malfunction. Without treatment it can lead to serious cardiovascular disease, such as coronary heart disease, heart failure or stroke. By seeking treatment, people with sleep apnea can reduce the risk of developing this type of disease.
- Cerebrovascular accidents
More than 60% of patients who have had a stroke also suffer from sleep apnea.
Stroke victims with untreated sleep apnea may have more difficulty than other patients in restoring their health: recovery from a stroke requires a lot of energy and motivation, and sleepiness caused by sleep apnea can make it difficult to continue a rehabilitation program, which compromises recovery. Stroke victims with untreated sleep apnea are more likely to die as a result of their stroke.
People with sleep apnea are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition, it is frequently found in people with diabetes and may worsen their condition. An improvement in the balance of diabetes would seem possible in some apneic patients treated with CPAP. However, this benefit is still uncertain, especially in the case of obesity.
About 40% of obese people suffer from sleep apnea. It has been shown that lack of sleep and sleep apnea promote weight gain over time. The mechanisms involved are not well identified, but it seems that sleep apnea disrupts the secretion of certain hormones involved in satiety. In return, obesity, especially in the abdomen, promotes the development of sleep apnea syndrome and its severity, creating a vicious circle.
Celebrity Deaths as a result of Sleep Apnea
- Reggie White
American professional gridiron football player who was one of the most dominant defensive lineman in the history of the sport. He died at 43 years old and had been a heavy snorer during is life. His breathing would often stop during sleep and then start up again. These are classic symptoms of sleep apnea. A sleep study confirmed that Reggie was indeed suffering from the disorder.
- John Candy
He was one of Canada's greatest and funniest character actors. He died of a heart attack at age 43 years old and he had all the symptoms of the sleep apnea.
- Antonin Scalia
He was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1986, he died at 79 years old. He had suffered from heart trouble and high blood pressure, these are the classic consequences of sleep apnea.
- Jerry Garcia
- Carrie Fisher