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Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is much more than simply snoring. There are several symptoms associated with this sleep disorder, which has gotten more attention in recent years. Some relevant questions to ask yourself:

  • Is your sleep restful?
  • Do you wake up at night startled and feel like you are suffocating?
  • Do you have a hard time concentrating?
  • Do you suffer from headaches when you wake up?
  • Are you overweight?

If you answered YES, you might be suffering from obstructive apnea.

What exactly is sleep apnea?

The muscles that control the upper airways normally relax during sleep. If they relax too much, the upper airways become too narrow and lead to snoring in some people. When the airways become too relaxed, breathing difficulties can occur. Sometimes the airways are completely blocked and the person temporarily stops breathing: this is referred to as obstructive sleep apnea. Such an event can last ten seconds or more. It can occur frequently or very frequently, to sometimes occurring several hundred times a night.

When you suffer from this condition, each time apnea occurs, you struggle to breathe and create stress for your brain and heart. Night after night, your sleep is disturbed. You experience fatigue that affects your quality of life, your job and your personal life. Your partner may have heard the warning signs of apnea while you were sleeping: snoring followed by silence, and then perhaps a loud breath when you resume breathing again.

Did you know that…

10 to 15% of the general population is affected by sleep apnea. However, statistics have shown that the condition affects 24% of men and 9% of women over 40.

Anyone, regardless of age, may be affected by sleep apnea. You are at a higher risk for sleep apnea if you have a combination of the following risk factors:

  • You are obese (excessive body weight);
  • Your neck is wide (over 17 inches in men and over 16 in women);
  • You have a family history of sleep apnea;
  • You are male;
  • You are over 40;
  • You have large tonsils;
  • You have a weak (receding) chin.

Source : The Lung Association 2008


  • Mild sleep apnea affects 1 in 5 adults;
  • One in 15 adults is affected by moderate to severe sleep apnea;

Sleep apnea affects :

  • 1% to 3% of children;
  • 4% of adult men;
  • 2% of adult women;
  • The elderly over the age of 65 are 2 to 3 times more likely to be affected by the condition;

Source : Canadian Medical Association

Symptoms :

  • Higher risk of hig blood pressure;
  • Risk of heart attack or stroke;
  • Lapses in memory;
  • Risk of car accidents;
  • Risk of heart condition (arrythmia)

Do you have questions about sleep apnea? Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment with our specialists. Planning a screening test is easy.

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