Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age. When you suffer from sleep apnea, breathing gets very shallow or stops completely. Every pause in breath can last anywhere between 10 to 20 seconds (sometimes more), these pauses may occur 20 or 30 times in one hour.
In the worst cases of sleep apnea, these pauses in breath can lead to problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and pregnancy complications. Furthermore, sleep apnea can also increase your risk of having a stroke. Those most at risk of sleep apnea are men, overweight people, those over the age of forty, large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone, and having a family history of sleep apnea. Since sleep apnea affects your sleep, it may cause drowsiness during the day that can make you more susceptible to be in an automobile accident, have difficulty concentrating, among other changes in personality.
If you are affected by sleep apnea, it is important to seek medical help. Your doctor may advise you to take a sleep apnea test to monitor you while you sleep (most likely at a sleep disorder center). Some tests that may be performed include polysomnogram (which records specific physical activities while you sleep), EEG (measures brain wave activity, or an EMG (records muscle activity like face twitches, teeth grinding, or other movements). Below are some resources to help you learn more of what may happen to you or a loved one suffering from sleep apnea.