AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine) declared that 29.4 million of residents in the country are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Sadly, only 20% of them know about it. In effect, the country spends $149.6 billion dollars for the treatment and the long term health consequences that results from it. If sleep apnea is not treated, this will significantly reduce the productivity of the individual. Numbers of vehicular accidents will also rise and workplace injuries.

Sleep apnea results to daytime sleepiness once untreated.  This can be very risky, especially to drivers since they will be prone to road accidents 5 times more than those who don’t have any snoring issues. Hence, they will be more vulnerable to crash on the road.

Sleeping with someone who snores can be very irritating. And you can’t just take this for granted since this can be a symptom of a serious medical issue. In U.S., one out of 10 people has this problem which costs the country billions of dollars per year.

“In sleep apnea, the mouth’s muscles do not work properly. Hence, every short period of time, the person stops breathing”, said Dr. Jennifer Caudle; a family medicine doctor in New Jersey. Sometimes, the person does not even know he has sleep apnea, Caudle said. Not knowing that you have this condition will put you in trouble. Once you stop breathing, you will snore, disrupting your normal sleep pattern. As a result, you will experience sleepiness and fatigue. If left untreated, this results to increased blood pressure, obesity, heart ailment and diabetes.

“Daytime sleepiness is more than just feeling sleepy”, Dr. Caudle said. And this can be very costly, she added.

One way to treat sleep apnea is by the use of a “stop snoring mouthpiece”.  These are oral breathing devices and sometimes come as nasal dilators which you can attach before sleeping. Lifestyle changes can also help like finding ways to lose weight. There is also a device called CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). This is a machine that employs positive airway pressure  which will improve breathing. The doctor may also prescribe some medicines to keep you awake during the day so you will feel sleepy at night. And in worse cases, surgery is recommended.

Sleep apnea is not just adding burden to the country’s economy. It can also be a nuisance to your companion as well. It can even affect your relationship with your spouse. Hence, this must not be taken lightly and be corrected once and for all.