So, you've had a sleep study and been given the news you were already probably prepared for based on your doctor's suspicions - you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Your persistent snoring that you shrugged off for years has been revealed to be a real problem. Your sleepiness at work or while driving isn't because you're getting older - it's because you have a medical disorder that needs to be treated.
For some this diagnosis might be devastating, while for others it might be a relief. Depending on the severity of symptoms and the length of time they've been occurring, some might be excited to have a solution for their increasing fatigue, weight gain, and irritability. No matter what emotion you feel when you are officially diagnosed with sleep apnea (and you may actually feel a combination of many), try to remember a few things - 1) Sleep apnea is now believed to be as common as diabetes with as many as 20 million Americans estimated to be affected and 2) there is treatment that is prove... [More]
Snoring is completely normal, right? Loud snoring that wakes up my spouse or pet and sometimes even wakes me up is a pretty normal thing. I know tons of my friends who do it too. It's normal to snore... isn't it?
I hear the statements above (or some variation of them) a lot. Snoring is something that people tease one another about or, at worse, causes arguments between spouses about who deserves to sleep on the couch more. But, in truth, the majority of snoring is not a normal process of sleeping. And it can mean some serious problems for your health if left untreated.
Most snoring (about 70%) is caused by a literal obstruction in the throat. The sound of persistent nightly snoring can be explained by tissue in the throat or mouth that is obstructing air and causing the classic flapping or snorting sound that is the typical snore. So when I put it that way, doesn't it sound a lot more dangerous and a lot less "normal"?
If the majority of snoring is caused by an actual physical obstruct... [More]
While education and information surrounding sleep apnea has certainly increased in the past few years, there are still an alarming number of people and healthcare professionals who don't see the disorder as the silent killer it can be. So many times the loud snoring associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea is laughed or teased about and considered a normal part of many American's lives.
But based on our experiences here dealing with sleep apnea patients every day and on studies done by physicians specializing in sleep medicine, snoring and the other outward symptoms of sleep apnea (daytime sleepiness, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, dry mouth, acid reflux while sleeping) are not normal and should not be part of anyone's regular day-to-day routine. So many sufferers blame these outward signs on increased age or lifestyle changes and ignore or attempt to adapt to some of the debilitating symptoms. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is shockingly prevalent in today's population with an estimate... [More]
A new study by the Swiss National Science Foundation shows, definitively, that sleep apnea symptoms return within one night of discontinuing CPAP treatment. A small study followed a group of CPAP users who discontinued treatment for two weeks to determine how quickly apnea events and sleep apnea symptoms returned. By the end of the study, breathing events had more than tripled across particpants. Information about the study can be found here:
Sleep Apnea Returns Rapidly When CPAP Stopped
These findings seem to be sort of common sense (as I'm sure many sleep apnea sufferers would agree), because CPAP treatment is not a cure for OSA (nor is it a prolonged pharmaceutical treatment). CPAP merely works to eliminate the blockages found in those with OSA, thereby eliminating the symptoms - not the disorder. It is nice, though, to see researchers focusing on OSA and it's treatment and lifestyle implications. And education about the chronic nature of sleep apnea is also very important, especial... [More]
The reality show 'Deadliest Catch', a Discovery show about Alaskan crab fishing, has been plagued by tragedy since its beginning. Viewers have seen cap-sized ships, lost crews, and the death of the gruff, but lovable, Phil Harris from the Cornelia Marie. The fishermen are facing another tragedy as the death of another of their compatriots has been revealed. Justin Tennison, a 33 year old fisherman on the Time Bandit, died in February of this year. Autopsy reports revealed that his death was due to complications related to sleep apnea.
Untreated sleep apnea can cause elargement of the heart, high cholesterol, and hardening of the arteries (and many other conditions). Many individuals with heart disease may have untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Stories like the tragedy of Justin Tennison remind CPAP users to stick with treatment, and hopefully will also bring awareness to those currently undiagnosed.
To read more about the new season of 'Deadliest Catch', visit ABC News for the f... [More]