A friend has just been diagnosed with sleep apnea and he was told it is severe.
During his overnight test his breathing interruptions occurred about once a minute but only lasted 2 or 3 seconds.
I do not know what his respiration rate is but a short pause between breaths of that magnitude does not seem to this layman to be a big deal.
He definitely has been a snorer for a long time.
He is now 70 years old, slightly overweight, and he had a heart bypass about 15 years ago so he is likely at more risk than a physically fit younger person. He does exercise on a treadmill regularly. He will be using a CPAP.
He and his wife travel extensively so lugging it around will be a nuisance. Please educate this layman about the severity issue in this case.
Thanks very much!
Severe sleep apnea is already a serious problem for your friend's health. It's not so easy to be compliant with a CPAP machine. And is very important to check - after one year of treatment - if his sleep apnea has improved.
If your friend has problems with his treatment, he will stop breathing in sleep and affect permanently his quality of life.
What happens when you stop breathing during sleep?
I'll start with this video:
If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing during sleep, and the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood is upset. This imbalance stimulates the brain to restart the breathing process.
The brain signals you to wake up so that the muscles of the tongue and throat can increase the size of the airway. Then, carbon dioxide can escape, and oxygen can enter the airway. These waking episodes are necessary to restart breathing (and to save your life), but you become sleep-deprived.
Sleep apnea has serious health consequences and can even be life-threatening. The main effects of sleep apnea are:
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