Sleep apnea is a pervasive medical condition that can be a huge safety issue if it is left untreated. Many people who have sleep apnea are undiagnosed. There are several treatments that are available for the condition, but a cure has not yet been discovered. Research about sleep apnea is ongoing in an effort to find a cure for the disorder.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition in which the passageways in the upper respiratory system become blocked multiple times during the night when people are sleeping. This causes the people who have the condition to repeatedly stop breathing before starting again.
The condition prevents people from getting restful sleep, leading them to feel fatigued and tired throughout the day. The condition is also associated with other medical conditions that can cause further problems, including the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Insulin resistance
- Mood disorders
- Public safety and health necessitate a cure
Sleep apnea poses dangers to both the people who have it as well as to the general public. People who drive while drowsy because of sleep apnea are much likelier to be involved in accidents. Commercial truck drivers who drive long hours and who have sleep apnea may also be at a heightened risk of causing accidents.
People who have this condition may be likelier to engage in risk-taking behaviors because of not getting enough sleep. They may also perform poorly at their jobs and suffer memory lapses and cognitive difficulties because of the lack of sleep.
Studying children may help to find a cure for sleep apnea.
While it was long believed that this condition only affected adults, researchers have found that children can also suffer from the condition. Childhood obesity has increased, making it likelier that children will develop sleep apnea. Some children who have respiratory passageways that are naturally more crowded may also suffer from sleep apnea. Researchers think that studying children may help them to find a cure if the disease is caught early in their lives.
Why treatment is not enough
While there are treatments available, they are not a substitute for finding a cure for sleep apnea. Some people are unable to afford the treatments that are available. The treatments that are available are expensive and not accessible to everyone. These include the following treatments:
- CPAP machine
- Minor surgery
- Major surgery
- Oral appliances
- Physical therapy
- Neurostimulation implants
- Weight loss
- Chiropractic care
The goal of researchers is to find a cure for sleep apnea so that treatment is no longer necessary.
Finding a cure for sleep apnea could improve the lives of millions of Americans. If you believe that you might have sleep apnea because you snore and feel tired during the day, you shold talk to your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and then follow the treatment recommendations that you are given.