Having Moderate Sleep Apnea is like having had a moderate heart attack: while better than "Severe," it's still dead serious. Mistakenly, my first reaction when getting the diagnosis of Moderate Sleep Apnea was relief. "Well, at least I'm not too far gone," I thought, as I let my guard down and didn't get serious about my Sleep Apnea treatment.
Then I did some research and found out what Moderate Sleep Apnea means.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) defines Moderate Sleep Apnea as having an AHI of greater than 15 but less than 30. AHI, in turn, stands for "Apnea-Hypopnea Index," and is a measure of the total number of times you stop breathing or have shallow breathing during sleep divided by the total number of hours you were asleep. For an an episode of interrupted breathing or shallow breathing to count as a true event, it must last 10 seconds or longer. The bottom line: a "moderate" case of Sleep Apnea means a person stops breathing or has dangerously shallow breathing for more than 10 seconds at a time, on average, 15 to 30 times PER HOUR! Certainly not something to be taken lightly, as this magnitude of Sleep Apnea will usually adversely impact daytime functioning and cardiovascular health.
An AHI of greater than 5 but less than 15 is deemed "mild" sleep apnea; an AHI of greater than 30 indicates "severe" sleep apnea.
If you don't know what your AHI is, find out. Your life might depend on it.
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