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Good sleep helps us think, plan, organize, remember, speak, and comprehend. Sleep restores us and helps us pay attention. When we do not sleep well, we put ourselves at risk for drowsiness and accidents. Poor sleep may trigger or worsen depression and other psychiatric problems and may weaken our immune system, increasing our susceptibility to infections and other illnesses.

It is estimated that 50-70 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder that may adversely affect not only their health, but also their quality and longevity of life.

If left untreated, sleep disorders can place individuals at greater risk for certain potentially life-threatening disorders such as heart disease, stroke, and hypertension.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious condition that occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway, causing breathing to stop for periods of time and oxygen levels in the bloodstream to decrease during sleep.  The brain responds to each of these “apnea events” by waking the person in order to resume breathing. Since apnea can happen hundreds of times per night, sleep becomes broken and ineffective.

People with untreated OSA have a higher risk of heart attack, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, problems with thinking, memory and attention, as well as obesity and diabetes. However, effective treatment for sleep apnea may significantly reduce these potentially serious and even life-threatening problems.

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