A study carried out by the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR) and the Spanish Sleep Association (ASENARCO) reveals that 86% of Spaniards ignore that sleep apnea significantly affects their health, which explains why 80% of the cases have not been diagnosed yet and 30% of the patients abandon the treatment of this chronic disorder in the first three months.
The results of the study, based on around 2,500 surveys conducted between June and July 2010, indicate that there is a great lack of knowledge about apnea, both about the symptoms that can help to recognize that the condition is being suffered, and about its consequences (increase of blood pressure, increased risk of suffering a heart attack or cardiorespiratory diseases, loss of quality of life) and available treatments.
86% of Spaniards are unaware of these risks, and 34% have not even heard of this disorder. Despite the fact that 13% of the respondents state that they sleep badly or very badly, only 0.1% think it is due to sleep apnea. These data help to understand why 80% of Spaniards who suffer from sleep apnea have not been diagnosed yet, and 30% of those who start a treatment leave it during the first three months.
In addition to the health problems associated with sleep apnea, this disorder is also related to an increased risk of suffering traffic accidents (it is estimated that apnea is involved in 36% of fatal traffic accidents) due to fatigue and drowsiness suffered by those affected during the day, not having rested properly. Apnea is also related to lower work performance, depression, irritability, lack of energy and memory loss.
Know the symptoms of apnea
If you have excessive sleepiness or fatigue during the day, despite having slept a sufficient number of hours, you may have apnea. Also if you wake up in the morning with a headache, dry mouth and / or feeling of daze. If you sleep with your partner, your bed partner can help a lot with the diagnosis if you notice that you snore frequently and very loudly; especially if the snoring is interspersed with periods in which it seems to cease breathing, ending the episode with another loud snoring. Sudden bodily movements and frequent awakenings are also signs that may indicate the presence of the disorder.
In any of these cases, it is advisable to go to the doctor to assess the situation, because although apnea is a chronic condition, the symptoms can be treated to improve the quality of life of the patient and avoid developing other pathologies because of the repeated lack of oxygen.