Sleep apnea affects over 22 million people in the United States, yet it is estimated that as many as 80 percent of those with moderate to severe symptoms remain undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is most likely to occur in men age 40 or older, particularly individuals who are overweight. However, almost anyone could be affected by sleep apnea, including women and children.
Sleep apnea is a brief interruption to breathing during sleep. This most often occurs due to a temporary blockage of the breathing passages as airways collapse. When the pause in breathing is detected by the body, the person wakes up gasping for breath. Central sleep apnea can also contribute to breathing problems when the brain doesn’t send the proper signals to the breathing muscles during sleep.
These interruptions to breathing can occur dozens of time during a single hour. However, the process of waking up and falling back asleep occurs so quickly that many who suffer from sleep apnea have no recollection of these interruptions the next morning.
Left unchecked, the continuous fatigue that results from these sleep interruptions can have significant long-term health consequences. If you find yourself feeling exhausted in the morning, even after what was seemingly a full night’s sleep, investing in CPAP equipment might just be the best gift you could get for yourself this year.
By choosing to start sleep apnea therapy, you won’t be giving yourself another tech gadget that will be outdated by next year. You’ll be able to enjoy restful, rejuvenating sleep once again. Here are some of the top reasons why you should give yourself the gift of CPAP.
1. Fight Fatigue
The most obvious benefit of CPAP therapy is that you will no longer feel fatigued during the day. You will have the physical and mental energy needed for work and other activities. You won’t have to stop to take breaks because you’re too tired to function.
Even more importantly, however, being fully awake and alert will reduce your chances of getting in an accident while on the road. The CDC reports that “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013. However, these numbers are underestimated, and up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers.”
Getting a full night of sleep won’t just keep you safe from accidents. It will also protect others while you are out on the road. Ensuring that you get home safe to your family each night is one of the most important investments you could make.
2. Stop Disturbing Your Spouse With Snoring
Snoring is one of the symptoms most commonly associated with obstructive sleep apnea. You might not notice if you snore during your sleep, but your significant other certainly will! A study from the Mayo Clinic Rochester estimated that bed partners gained an average of 62 minutes of sleep per night when their spouse began using a CPAP device. Without using a CPAP device, however, those hours of lost sleep can really add up.
Sleep apnea will often cause sleep problems for your spouse, just as much as it causes problems for you. When both of you are fatigued, it becomes harder to keep emotions in check. Some couples even end up sleeping in separate bedrooms because of one partner’s snoring.
Some studies even suggest that continued exposure to snoring is a type of “noise trauma” which greatly increases the risk of hearing loss for both you and your bed partner.
Using a CPAP machine will help prevent snoring. Most modern equipment operates at a noise level around 30 dBA or less — roughly the same level as a whispered conversation. This makes it much easier for your partner to fall asleep, helping alleviate a potential source of stress in your marriage.
3. Protect Your Heart
Untreated sleep apnea has been consistently linked with a wide range of heart health problems. In fact, a study from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that “Obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of heart failure by 140 percent, the risk of stroke by 60 percent, and the risk of coronary heart disease by 30 percent.”
This occurs in part because the continued interruptions to sleep caused by an individual’s sleep apnea increase stress levels in the body. This leads to higher blood pressure, increasing the risk of these and other cardiovascular conditions such as irregular heartbeat or slow heartbeat.
On the other hand, using a CPAP device has been found to lower blood pressure, helping prevent more serious cardiovascular health issues. While a CPAP machine shouldn’t necessarily replace other medications or treatment programs for addressing pre-existing heart conditions, improved health may lead to a reduced need for such medications. As a result, using a CPAP machine for sleep apnea therapy could very well help you live longer.
4. Avoid Unhealthy Weight Gain & Diabetes
Sleep apnea and obesity interact in a type of vicious cycle. WebMD reports that “More than half of people with obstructive sleep apnea are either overweight or obese, which is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25-29.9 or 30.0 or above, respectively…Each unit increase in BMI is associated with a 14 percent increased risk of developing sleep apnea, and a 10 percent weight gain increases the odds of developing moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea by six times.”
While obesity can increase the risk of developing sleep apnea, sleep apnea has also been found to contribute to unhealthy weight gain. Over time, this also increases an individual’s risk for type 2 diabetes, which can cause complications such as excessive fatigue, slow healing of wounds, and numbness in the hands and feet.
Using a CPAP machine doesn’t just stave off the dangerous weight gain that can be caused by untreated sleep apnea. Some studies suggest that it can actually help individuals lose excess weight and reduce mortality rates associated with obesity. CPAP treatment can also reduce insulin resistance, making it easier for those with type 2 diabetes to control their blood sugar levels.
Of course, this doesn’t diminish the importance of eating a healthy diet and participating in regular exercise. When the use of a CPAP machine is added to these healthy habits, overweight individuals who also suffer from sleep apnea will be able to make better progress in improving their physical health.
5. Stay Happy
While poor sleep can understandably harm your physical health, its impact on your mental well-being is sometimes overlooked. However, studies are increasingly shedding light on how sleep apnea can directly contribute to depression. In fact, one study estimates that as many as 46 percent of individuals with obstructive sleep apnea experience depressive symptoms directly related to their condition. Those with sleep apnea are also at a greater risk of major depression and treatment resistant depression.
Clinical depression refers to an extended period of sadness or hopelessness, which often includes low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence. Depressed individuals will typically feel pessimistic, worthless, or even guilty. Depression can further disrupt normal sleeping and eating habits, and in some instances, will lead to suicidal thoughts.
Not all individuals who suffer from both sleep apnea and depression will have their problems solved by using a CPAP machine. Some individuals experience depression because of chemical imbalances that can only be addressed through properly prescribed medications. However, studies have consistently shown that individuals with sleep apnea and depressive symptoms will have improved symptoms in as little as three months after beginning CPAP treatment.
6. Keep Your Mind Sharp
Though a direct relationship has not yet been established, several studies suggest that disrupted sleep can contribute to cognitive decline in old age. This goes beyond getting more forgetful — it could even play a role in more serious mental health conditions like dementia.
When you are fatigued, it becomes much harder to stay focused on work and other activities. Individuals with untreated sleep apnea are also more likely to experience headaches and be easily irritable, which can make it harder to manage social interactions with others. The combination of these factors can hinder performance in several areas.
By using your CPAP machine, your mind will be clear and focused thanks to getting adequate rest the night before. Improved mood will make it easier to manage the ups and downs of your day. Being mentally sharp will ensure that you give your best performance at work, at school, or at home.
7. Better Sex Life
As it turns out, the interruptions to sleep that you experience because of your sleep apnea can also interrupt your love life. Erectile dysfunction (ED) and a loss of libido are quite common among men with obstructive sleep apnea, which can be a source of frustration in relationships. Men with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction at a younger age.
Once again, however, the use of CPAP equipment can directly counteract such issues. As reported by Medical News Today, a study from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center found that “CPAP improved the sexual function and satisfaction in the majority of men in the study regardless of their level of erectile function reported at the very start. Those with ED had more robust improvements and even many without ED reported improved sexual function and satisfaction.”
CPAP treatment can also improve your looks, further enhancing your love life. Consistently using a CPAP machine can help reduce puffy or red skin, as well as the dark circles that occur under the eyes as a result of poor sleep. When you look your best, you’ll feel more confident and be that much more appealing to your spouse.
Give the Gift of CPAP
A CPAP machine may not seem as exciting of a holiday purchase as a big screen TV or the latest smartphone, but in the long run, you will likely get far more use out of this equipment than any other gift you’ll get this year. More importantly, this is the one gift that can completely transform your health, giving you the energy you need for the activities you enjoy and helping you avoid long-term health complications.
Of course, getting set up with the CPAP equipment you need for your treatment can be somewhat intimidating — particularly if you don’t have health insurance or your insurance policy doesn’t fully cover the cost of CPAP treatment.
This is where No Insurance Medical Supplies helps to make your holiday season a little brighter. We offer machines, masks, and more from top brands like ResMed and Philips Respironics. many of which are available at discounted prices or as part of money-saving bundles. You could save hundreds of dollars on your purchase!
We also offer free shipping on all orders over $89, as well as available financing programs on select purchases. As long as you have a valid prescription, we’ll be happy to help you get the equipment you need to have a more enjoyable holiday season.