One of the biggest problems with sleep apnea is that so many people are undiagnosed–perhaps 80% of all people with condition. But the problem is actually more acute than that–most people don’t even understand the dangers of sleep apnea.
Enter our new sleep apnea infographic, which is designed to help people understand the dangers of sleep apnea by comparing them to another health condition that almost everyone understands carries risk: hypertension or high blood pressure.
Two Illnesses with Serious Risks
Everybody knows about the dangers of high blood pressure. We’ve been told about it for years. Testing our blood pressure is one of the first things done at a doctor’s appointment. There are even blood pressure cuffs at the pharmacy, encouraging us to check the blood pressure while we wait. Diagnosis of high blood pressure is one of the most common in the US, and blood pressure medications are some of the most commonly prescribed. This makes it an ideal opportunity to help people understand the risks of sleep apnea.
It also helps that the two conditions have such similar risks, causing risks virtually from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet.
Stroke risk is raised significantly in both conditions. Stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. High blood pressure can increase the risk of both types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. In ischemic stroke, a blood clot or other obstruction forms in or travels to the blood vessels of the brain, blocking them. In Hemorrhagic stroke, the blood vessels burst, causing bleeding that creates pressure when closes up the blood vessels in the brain.
High blood pressure can also damage vision in two different ways. It can contribute to blood vessel damage to the retina, called retinopathy. It can also contribute to the risk of high fluid pressure in the eye, leading to optic nerve damage.
High blood pressure puts strain on your heart, increasing the risk of heart disease, including heart failure and angina.
High blood pressure can also damage organs that interact with blood, such as kidneys, which filter the blood, or sexual organs, which use blood flow to become tumescent.
All these risks of risks and more are shared by sleep apnea, which can be a deadly condition.
How You Can Help Spread Awareness
If you are looking to spread awareness about sleep apnea, there are several things you can do.
First, you can share the infographic. This is an easy way to let people know about the serious risks of sleep apnea.
Second, make sure people take snoring and sleep apnea seriously. Many people consider snoring to be nothing more than a nuisance, but they need to understand that it’s a warning sign for sleep apnea and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Finally, if you suspect you have sleep apnea, get treatment and share your story. People need to understand the condition in a personal way, too.