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Sleep apnea is a common, serious, potentially life-threatening sleep disorder that affects several million Americans. It is characterized by involuntary pauses in breathing or a reduction in airflow during sleep. Each episode, called an apnea or apneic event, lasts ten seconds or more and is often followed by snoring or gasping for air, though not everyone snores. Those with sleep apnea have little chance of sleeping well. Each of the five to more than twenty episodes of apnea per hour reduces blood oxygen levels enough to cause an arousal from sleep until breathing resumes normally. Repeated awakenings throughout the night make people with sleep apnea very tired during the day.
Untreated sleep apnea can compromise good health. The combination of disturbed sleep and reduced oxygen levels may lead to hypertension, heart disease, memory problems and reduced job performance. New research indicates sleep apnea may lead to stroke, diabetes, and even some auto-immune diseases. Additional consequences include depression, irritability, acid reflux, frequent nighttime urination, and sexual dysfunction. An increased risk of job and automobile accidents make sleep apnea a life-threatening condition as well. Sleep apnea is a serious illness that should be properly diagnosed and treated.
Sleep apnea can occur in any person of any age but is most common in men. It is also very common among men or women of middle age. The people most likely to develop sleep apnea include those who are overweight; have high blood pressure; snore loudly; have a neck size greater than 17 inches; a family history of sleep apnea; or an abnormality of the throat, jaw, or other upper airway structures. Children with enlarged tonsils or adenoids are also at risk for obstructive sleep apnea. However, you might not have a single one of these risk factors and you could still have sleep apnea! (Take our Quiz NOW!)
With the advancement of new technology, we are now able to diagnose sleep apnea in the comfort of your own home. Until recently, most patients were diagnosed in a sleep laboratory with multiple wires attached to your body while being monitored by an attendant. But with the help of one of our partner Centers, you won't have to spend a night away from your home. Our Centers make the diagnosis as efficient and convenient as possible and with the highest quality of care. All of our partner Centers have board certified sleep specialists who assure the accuracy, timeliness, and convenience of your study while adhering to the highest quality of care. Our Centers were selected from thousands of sleep centers throughout the country because of their proven quality of care. You can be assured that your care will be second to none.
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