Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a medical condition characterized by the frequent absence of normal breathing during the night. This type of sleep apnea is usually caused by airway narrowing or partial obstruction. You’re at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea if you’re a male, between the ages of eighteen and sixty, have chronic nasal congestion or if you’re obese.
Despite the fact that there are plenty of risk factors involved in determining whether or not you could develop sleep apnea, the general opinion seems to be that Obstructive Sleep Apnea is an obese person’s disease. This stereotype upholds an idea that is not only a lie, but dead wrong.
Even Athletes Develop Sleep Apnea
Football players, wrestlers, and other athletes who are often asked to “bulk” for their sport are at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea when compared to their non-athletic counterparts. Maybe you want to write off their conditions because of their size or their thick necks, but that argument just won’t cut it.
If you’ve been avoiding visiting your doctor because you think that you’re too physically fit to have sleep apnea, think again. No one is safe from sleep disordered breathing, just take Tom Zehmisch as an example. Zehmisch was a triathlete in excellent condition…until he died of a heart attack. His death was believed to have been an unfortunate end to what began as a case of sleep apnea.
Can Sleep Apnea Impact Athletic Performance?
You’re looking to perform your best, whether in a triathlon, a local 5k, or even in your Zumba class. If physical activity is important to you, start making sleep a priority. Professional athletes, as well as those who enjoy exercising for fun, place extra stress on their bodies every day and need sleep to recover.
Normally, you’ll rest up at night and your body will heal, leaving you refreshed and ready to build muscles again the following day. If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, you might be roughing up your body during the day and never truly healing at night. This puts undue stress on your muscles, joints, and, most devastatingly, your cardiovascular system.
Decreased cardiovascular function brought on by the sleep deprivation and low levels of oxygen associated with sleep apnea can lead to sobering illnesses. High blood pressure, kidney disease, stroke, and neurological changes are just a few. In football players who were tested for sleep apnea, those who suffered from the condition had considerably slower reaction times.
Look For the Signs, Not the Size
If you have sleep apnea, snoring may be your only symptom. That was the case for Tom Zehmisch, and unfortunately, his condition killed him. Snoring is just one of the symptoms on a long list that includes exhaustion during the day, frequent waking, or morning headaches. Even if you don’t snore, review any of these common symptoms with your doctor. Don’t assume you’ll avert sleep apnea just by keeping your Body Mass Index below twenty-five.
Don’t Neglect Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you’ve taken the courageous move to see your doctor about your snoring, headaches, or frequent nighttime waking and they diagnose you with sleep apnea, don’t delay starting your treatment. Most physicians agree that continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP therapy, is the first line treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. If you avoid treatment because you’re embarrassed or nervous about shopping for a CPAP system, take a deep breath and relax.
The nurses, respiratory therapists, and doctors at Breatheeasycpap.com believe that you should feel empowered by investing in the CPAP system that’s right for you. Don’t let sleep apnea slow you down. Visit our website today.