Snoring can be irritating, but sleep apnea can kill.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious and fatal yet severely underdiagnosed disorder, which affects approximately 20 percent of the adult population. Snoring, daytime fatigue, witnessed apnea (cessation of respiration for more than ten seconds), morning headaches, dry throat, and waking up gasping for air are common features of this disorder, which is being increasingly recognized as a formidable enemy of a full and joyous life. It prevents the person from reaching deep and restorative stages of sleep, making the person grumpy, irritable, nervous, forgetful, inattentive, and tired.
It also increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and early death because of nightly struggle to breathe, which causes frequent elevation of blood pressure and sustained drop in blood oxygen level while simultaneously increasing the oxygen consumption of the heart muscles. Untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of motor vehicular and industrial accidents. It can also contribute to erectile difficulties.
Use the STOP questionnaire to determine your risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
- S … Do you snore loudly?
- T … Do you often feel tired, fatigued, or sleepy during the daytime?
- O … Has anyone observed you stop breathing during sleep?
- P … Do you have or are you being treated for high blood pressure?
If you answer yes to two or more of these questions, then you are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea, and you should call us for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
To make an accurate diagnosis, you may need an overnight sleep study in a sleep lab where your respirations, the oxygen level, heart rate, EKG, leg movements, and sleep stages will be monitored all night long without using needles. Now, there is also a convenient and economical alternative in Apnea Link, a home sleep test.
Call us at 574-534-9911 to get started.