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If you snore heavily because of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a disorder that closes off your upper airway during sleep, you have an increased risk of stroke and death. The sleep problem, which afflicts 20 percent of all adults, can start to seriously impair your health within a month.
A study at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston shows that “… only one month of moderate OSA produces altered cerebrovascular function which could result in a stroke. A finding that highlights the detrimental impact OSA can have on the body,” says researcher Randy Crossland.
According to Crossland, some researchers estimate that up to 85 percent of people with clinically significant sleep apnea do not even know they suffer the condition. Obesity and aging are strongly associated with OSA.
“As the prevalence of obesity is rising, and the population continues aging, we expect the rates of OSA to rise. It should also be noted that non-obese individuals and even children can have OSA,” he notes. And while OSA is seen more often in men than in women, some researchers believe that the true rate in females has been underestimated.
The common signs and symptoms of OSA include: habitual snoring, daytime sleepiness, enlarged neck size, morning headache, sexual dysfunction, and mood and behavioral changes.
“OSA can have a detrimental impact on a person’s body and their life. It is a serious, yet treatable, disorder that should not be taken lightly,” observes Mr. Crossland.