If you constantly find yourself tired during the day, it may be more serious than you think.
People who snore and struggle with sleepiness during the day are victims of a poor night’s sleep, whether they know it or not. This is usually the results of a condition called sleep apnea, where sufferers experience erratic breathing patterns during slumber. Sometimes they stop breathing for over a minute at a time. It’s estimated that over 100 million people worldwide suffer from sleep apnea.
Of course, because you’re asleep, it can be a hard condition to recognize. The effects are usually felt the next day through tiredness, naps, and mental lapses. Sleep apnea is a chronic condition and has recently been closely associated with glaucoma-the world’s second leading cause of blindness.
A new Taiwanese study shows people with sleep apnea have an increased likelihood of developing glaucoma than those without it, raising their risk of blindness. Researchers discovered people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea for five years increase their risk by 1.67 times of developing open-angle glaucoma. This study is the first of its kind to look for a direct link between the two conditions.
Although researchers didn’t say sleep apnea is a direct cause of glaucoma, the relationship is pretty strong. Instead, they contend sleep apnea is not just a marker for poor health, but a totally independent risk factor for glaucoma.
Glaucoma, if left untreated, can result in blindness. It’s a disease that damages the optic nerve, which is connected to the retina. The retina absorbs light, which is carried through the optic nerve into your brain to create the images you see. A healthy eye contains a small level of fluid to maintain pressure, but an eye with glaucoma doesn’t release the fluid efficiently, resulting in a buildup. Over time this causes damage to the optic nerve, resulting in poor peripheral vision and blindness.
To some, the link between sleep apnea and glaucoma is not surprising. The erratic breathing and breath stoppages resulting in a lack of oxygen cause increased pressure on the optic nerves, while also trapping in abnormal levels of gas in your bloodstream.
Talk to your wife, husband, or doctor if you’re concerned about sleep apnea. Inquire about snoring, how you breathe during sleep, and pay attention to your energy levels during the day. If these factors indicate there is a problem or you’re at risk, there are a couple of things you can do. The first is to lose weight by focusing on nutrition and exercise.
Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of getting a good night’s sleep and making it easier on your body to rest. If you smoke, you should also consider quitting. This will improve the function of your lungs and help ensure the proper distribution of oxygen throughout your body. Finally, seeking the advice of sleep specialist is recommended if the situation doesn’t improve.