Why You Should Take Sleep Apnea Seriously

Dr. Dan JensenResearch, Signs & Symptoms, Sleep Apnea

Why You Should Take Sleep Apnea Seriously
Dr. Dan Jensen
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Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea and not every person with sleep apnea snores so loudly they are being urged to seek treatment. If you snore and are being urged to a significant other to get treatment – or you feel there is some issue that is preventing you from getting a sound sleep – the possibility of having sleep apnea should not be ignored. Sound Sleep Medical can treat sleep apnea or any breathing issues preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Sleep apnea risks

Sleep apnea is caused when the upper airway tissues collapse leading to shallow breathing and even breathing cessation. This, in turn, causes a decrease in the oxygen in the blood. There is a pattern of snoring, then quiet, then gasps. Breathing has stopped and then started again. In severe cases, this can occur hundreds of times a night. About 40% of the adult population snores and about 25% of that group has sleep apnea. One study found 90% of adults with sleep apnea are not diagnosed.

Terrible consequences

Sleep apnea has been associated with greater risk of depression, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, other cardiovascular conditions and resistance to insulin. Undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea can and does have deadly and tragic consequences. In the last five years Amtrak and train crashes have resulted in multiple deaths, hundreds of injuries and tens of millions of dollars in property claims. In each case, undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea was to blame. Nearly 30% of motor vehicle crashes are caused by sleepy drivers and drivers with sleep apnea are five times more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents than other drivers.

Why undiagnosed?

It is not always evident to an individual that they may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea disrupts your sleep, but since you are not conscious at the time, you may not realize it. Not everyone with sleep apnea snores so loudly they disrupt a partner’s sleep and not everyone with sleep apnea is tired. It will eventually wear you down. While many try to power their way through the fatigue – that is what drives many to the doctor.

A sleep test is needed

There is a sleep assessment on the Sound Sleep Medical website to give you some indication if you may have a sleep disorder, but a sleep test is really needed to properly diagnose sleep apnea. For many, that seems like a daunting issue. Getting wires attached to you and then trying to sleep may not seem like an attractive idea – but the alternatives are risking your health and safety as well as the safety of others.
Some professional drivers, pilots and train operators fear a diagnosis will endanger their livelihood. Again, the alternatives are frightening.

Effective Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Treatment is a machine and a mask to gently push air into your airway to keep it open. The old machines and masks, shown and mocked on some television shows, are huge, loud and cumbersome. Technological advances have made treatment masks and machines smaller, quieter, more comfortable, easier to use and even portable!

Treatment must be used every day and, sadly, studies show only 60% of those diagnosed comply with treatment. Some individuals can treat their sleep apnea by losing weight. That proves difficult for many and then the weight needs to be kept off to keep sleep apnea from reoccurring. There are indications from studies that sleep apnea makes it harder to lose weight. Sleep apnea releases a hormone that makes you crave sweets and carbs. If you are tired as a result of sleep apnea it seems nature to indulge in sugary snacks for an energy pick-me-up. There are over the counter remedies such as nasal strips and even mouth apparatuses that can be purchased from different website. There are no studies to catalog whether these are sufficient treatments.

The best plan – get evaluated

Sound Sleep Medical has 25 years of experience treating sleep apnea and sleep breathing disorders. Take the assessment from the website, but then don’t be one of the untreated – call for an appointment. We strive to make your test for sleep apnea as convenient as possible and work with you to put you on the path to better sleeping.