Over 20 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder in which non-breathing episodes occur during sleep, sometimes several hundred times per night. Although sleep apnea seems to be more common in seniors (40 percent of all people over age 60 develop the condition), anyone at any age may develop sleep apnea. If not detected and properly treated, sleep apnea can progress in severity and become life threatening.
A routine medical exam cannot reveal the main symptoms of this illness because the patient’s respiration remains normal while awake. Proper diagnosis of the severity and type of sleep apnea can only be determined by special monitoring of the individual’s sleep.