How Age and Sleep Apnea Are Related

It’s an old stereotype that the older we get, the more we snore. Watch cartoons and kids’ movies, and you’ll find the grandmother or grandfather, if they’re ever sleeping, will undoubtedly be snoring. This stereotype may be masking a very serious issue that has profound implications for the quality of life for all of us as we get older.

The reason for this is because of sleep apnea. While not all snoring is due to sleep apnea, it is perhaps the most obvious sign. If you or someone you love is suffering from sleep apnea, you may be risking your health.

Research has proven that age leads to an increase in sleep apnea. This is because the muscle tone in our nose and throat, which provide the airway to our lungs, gets weaker as we get older. This weakening is particularly prominent in women because menopause severely reduces the estrogen and progesterone in their bodies, which leads to significant loss of muscle tone.

Sleep apnea is actually a very serious condition. This is because of what sleep apnea actually does to the body. It temporarily reduces or cuts off the airflow to the lungs, reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood. It can lead to individuals waking up entirely or partly throughout the night.

That’s just the beginning. Sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure and diabetes, and may lead to heart attacks and strokes, which, of course, can be deadly. Almost as concerning, sleep apnea has been tied to an increased risk of dementia.

However, the risks of sleep apnea may go beyond these serious risks. Sleep apnea can be responsible for insomnia, tiredness, heartburn, teeth grinding, anxiety, depression, and increased cognitive difficulties. In other words, sleep apnea may be what makes you feel old when you might otherwise be feeling younger and vivacious.

Of course, all of these symptoms can arise independent of sleep apnea, making it hard to catch, particularly for those who don’t sleep with someone else who might notice a change in their sleeping patterns.

If you suspect you might be suffering from sleep apnea, information like this might feel more frustrating than relieving. However, the good news is that recent research has made it easier than ever to treat sleep apnea successfully. Some treatments may include simply improving overall health (such as weight loss or treating allergies), while others will involve the assistance of sleep specialists. This may include the use of devices that keep your airways open, positional therapy to make sure you sleep in a way conducive to open airways, or CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy.

The sleep experts at Silent Night Therapy can provide you with the assistance and the devices you need to help prevent the health issues you might otherwise experience due to sleep apnea. Call us today at (631) 983-2463, and we can set up an appointment to start treating your sleep apnea immediately so that you can return to the youthful, energetic, person you still are inside.