If you’re one of the estimated 18 million Americans suffering from sleep apnea, you could be in serious danger and not even know it. Sleep apnea, the involuntary blocking of the airways during sleep, makes you three times more likely to have heart disease, and four times more likely to have a stroke. This results in a staggering 38,000 apnea-related cardiovascular deaths. And with 2-4% of all Americans with the condition going undiagnosed, the dangers are even higher.
If you have (or a loved one has) sleep apnea, it may be time to consider a CPAP machine. (Otherwise known as a sleep apnea mask.) In an average night, a sufferer of obstructive sleep apnea may experience 60 apneas per hour. With a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine, your airways remain open to receive the proper air circulation, preventing the collapse or closing of your nasal passages and throat. The result is better, more restful sleep, along with the proper bodily functions to prevent cardiac arrest or strain.
One of the biggest problems with CPAP machines is a user error: not using it enough. 80% of prescribed patients don’t use it correctly, with as many as half of the people who are prescribed CPAP machines stopping use after one to three weeks. With proper use, the CPAP settings should be active for at least 70% of nights in a month, for at least 4 hours a night.
With proper use, the CPAP machine can be the difference between life and death. Since sleep apnea is involuntary, it may be unclear to the patient just how serious it is. If you think that you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, make sure to consult a doctor. And if you do have it, consider investing in a CPAP machine. It could save a life.