We've all seen the movie. A man dressed in black, with sweat pooling on his brow, is forced to cut a wire to defuse a ticking time bomb and save all mankind...
Soon enough, the 90-minute film comes to a resolution with a snip of the wire, and only seconds to spare. Hooray, all is not lost, except maybe the 30 bucks it cost for your movie tickets and a large bucket of popcorn.
But what happens in real life when there's no hero to save the day?
And what happens when there's no timer to tick away the seconds, so you just don't know exactly when tragedy may strike?
This common movie scenario isn't far off from what's happening inside your body if you're living with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). You may sleep soundly at night - well, maybe not so soundly, but definitely loudly - and have no idea of the effects this condition is having on your vital internal organs...or on your daily life.
In its simplest terms, obstructive sleep apnea is when your airway is blocked while you're sleeping and causing you to snore, stop breathing and gasp for air. Essentially, you're being strangled by your own body. Every single night...and these strangulations can happen up to 100 times per hour!
Many people live with this condition but ignore its telling signs. Leaving it untreated leads to decreased daytime function, including symptoms like headaches, sour moods and depression, drowsiness, anxiety, and forgetfulness. Plus, you're much more prone to accidents. And if you're like most people, you write off these ailments because "everyone deals with these things from time to time" or you convince yourself that "it's just part of getting older" or "no, it's not that, it's just that my job is so stressful."
We all have enough external stress factors to deal with; don't let your sleep be the biggest culprit of your daily angst. Because the reality is, living in this miserable state is decreasing your quality of life and there's a deeper issue going on that you can't see or necessarily feel.
The lack of oxygen and difficulty breathing you experience every night is putting strain on your circulatory system that is designed to carry the oxygen in your blood to your heart. When your heart is regularly under this type of stress, it has to work extra hard to keep up - quite literally, it could be taking years off your life. A strain on your heart and your entire body leads to lifelong illnesses like hypertension and diabetes or can result in more dire results like stroke or heart attack.
So, it's time to address this ticking time bomb in your bedroom. You deserve sound sleep. You deserve a healthy heart. You deserve to enjoy many more cinematic thrills - where only the movie's storyline is to blame for raising your heart rate.