DEFINITION: Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or instances of shallow breathing during sleep. These pauses can happen multiple times throughout the night and may last for a few seconds to a few minutes. Sleep apnea can result in fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels, leading to several health complications if left untreated.
1. Is sleep apnea considered a disability in Canada?
Sleep apnea is not considered a disability in Canada by default. However, individuals with severe sleep apnea that significantly impacts their ability to perform daily activities may qualify for disability benefits through the Canadian government’s Accessible Canada Act.
2. What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, abrupt awakenings accompanied by choking or gasping, excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
3. Can sleep apnea be treated?
Yes, sleep apnea can be treated. The treatment options vary depending on the severity of the condition but may include lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and regular exercise, the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, oral appliances, or in some cases, surgery.
4. How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
To diagnose sleep apnea, a medical professional may request a sleep study called a polysomnography. This study involves monitoring various bodily functions, such as brain activity, eye movements, muscle activity, and respiratory efforts during sleep.
5. Are there any risk factors for developing sleep apnea?
Yes, certain factors can increase the risk of developing sleep apnea. These factors include obesity, being male, older age, having a large neck circumference, family history of sleep apnea, nasal congestion, smoking, and alcohol or sedative use.
6. Can children have sleep apnea?
Yes, children can also have sleep apnea. Some common signs of sleep apnea in children include snoring, restless sleep, bedwetting, chronic mouth breathing, and daytime sleepiness. It is essential to seek medical attention if any of these symptoms are observed.
7. What are the potential complications of untreated sleep apnea?
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to various health complications, including high blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, diabetes, depression, memory problems, and accidents due to excessive daytime sleepiness. Seeking proper diagnosis and treatment is crucial to preventing these complications.