The Government May Be Ignoring the Prevalence of Sleep Apnea and How That Can Affect Your Sexual Health
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force is choosing to stay neutral on the issue of adult screening for obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects almost 30 percent of the population, but over 80 percent of sufferers don't know they have it or go undiagnosed. Why? It's something that happens when you sleep and you won't know it's happening. Its symptoms, including foggy thinking, snoring, sleepiness, and a dry throat when you wake, are easily confused with other diseases.
OSA is so common because it can be caused by being overweight, drinking alcohol, heartburn, menopause, and abnormalities in your respiratory tract. And if you don't get it treated, it can destroy your heart and brain, causing brain damage, high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiac arrest.
But what did the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force find? They said there's probably no benefit or harm in not testing adults for OSA if they're not disclosing symptoms. But how would you know to tell your doctor you wake up tired all the time if you keep thinking it's because you work too hard?
OSA doesn't just affect your productivity and cognitive abilities, it can also wreck your sexual health. Dr. Lisa Stives, M.D. tells CNN that the low oxygen levels caused by sleep apnea can cause erectile dysfunction. She also says that deprived sleep lowers testosterone levels in young men, which also leads to sexual dysfunction. She says studies show that OSA also causes sexual dysfunction in women.
If you suspect you have OSA, you should see your doctor about a sleep study, which is covered by most insurance companies. The Europa Pharmacy says that alleviating the underlying conditions causing sleep apnea can help you breathe better at night and boost your sexual health.
You can try drinking two full glasses of water before bed to help alleviate your heartburn before sleeping. You should also lose weight if you're overweight, which will decrease the fatty tissue that may be pressing against your airways. Doctors also recommend not drinking alcohol a few hours before sleeping if you have OSA.
Even if the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force doesn't think OSA is a big deal, you should raise your awareness of the disease because of its seemingly normal symptoms and the many common conditions and lifestyles that can cause it. Also keep in mind the long-term consequences of OSA can lead to a decrease in your sexual, heart, and mental health.