If you're suffering from sleep apnea, getting a proper diagnosis can make a huge difference in your health.
Someone with sleep apnea typically stops breathing or has periods of very low breathing that can last seconds to minutes and occur several times through the night.
Every time you stop breathing, even if for a second or two, there is an imbalance in oxygen/carbon dioxide levels in the body which is a concern.
Sleep apnea is diagnosed during a sleep study and can provide valuable information about the way a person sleeps.
Typical symptoms include daytime sleepiness, difficulty paying attention, lack of focus, inability to concentrate, and morning headaches (commonly wakes with a headache). Snoring is common but not required in the diagnosis of sleep apnea.
Many people do not realize they have sleep apnea as they are sleeping. However others in the same room, or the next room, may point out that they snore through the night or stop breathing altogether. This strongly suggests the need for a test.
Women are at just as much risk for sleep apnea as men. Having sleep apnea increases the risk for mortality (especially in men), stroke (in both men and women), chronic headaches and fatigue.
Someone with sleep apnea may experience attention problems, and increased carbohydrate cravings. Sleep apnea may cause insomnia, as the changes in someone’s breathing may cause them to wake up.
Other possible consequences are increased risk of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes/pre-diabetes.
Treatment typically involves a variety of methods depending on what is causing the apnea to occur. This may include solutions to snoring, weight loss, surgery, medications, and/or use of a sleep mask.
If some of these symptoms are hitting home or your loved ones are concerned about your sleeping habits (snoring and breathing changes) then see your health care provider to consider a sleep study.
If you are concerned about your loved one, talk to them about sleep apnea and seeking help. It is best for everyone’s health.