You may notice that your teen is not performing well in school. Or perhaps you watch your spouse packing on the pounds. And you may notice that both your teen and your spouse are more irritable than you have seen.
We don’t think of sleep deprivation affecting us this way but untreated sleep deprivation can be a killer! About 38,000 deaths in the U.S every year are due to sleep apnea and its effect on the heart only.
At times, sleep deprivation can cause forgetfulness, early diabetes, high blood pressure (about 50% of those with sleep apnea), sexual dysfunction, heart failure, arrhythmia, depression, potential panic disorder[i], stroke (4 times more likely with sleep apnea), heart attack, gout[ii], pneumonia, chronic kidney disease/end-stage renal disease[iii] and traffic accidents (six times more likely to die in a car accident).
At the core of all of these issues is a very treatable, sleep health problem.
The Sleep Foundation Organization[iv] tells us that chronic snoring is a “strong indicator of sleep apnea” apnea meaning “without breath”. For between 10-30 seconds- to hundreds of times per night in severe untreated apnea cases, we don't breathe.
The diagnosis of Sleep apnea occurs as a serious public health problem and is present in 18 million of Americans-or one of every 15 people--6.62% of the population. One third of these people have moderate to severe sleep apnea symptoms and are not getting quality sleep.
There are gender differences also[v]. Women have naturally higher levels of inflammatory and metabolic issues than men. But men with sleep apnea have a more severe inflammatory profile compared to women. The C reactive protein blood test is useful in assessing the sleep apnea severity and comorbidity heart disease component.
Sleep is critical for health and sleep apnea can affect anyone., even in children who need their tonsils removed. Apnea can be mild, moderate or severe.
Twice the number of African Americans exhibit obstructive sleep apnea compared to Caucasians. 2-4% of Americans have undiagnosed sleep apnea, therefore, certainly untreated.
Are these symptoms, what you or your loved one experience?.. it could be a diagnosis of sleep apnea!
- Loud snoring almost every night
- Choking, snorting, or gasping while asleep
- Times when not breathing
- Waking up in the middle of the night with a start//or short of breath
- Being sleepy during the day, not waking up refreshed and ready to go? Or perhaps you or your loved one...
- Awakens with a sore throat or feeling a dry throat
- Awakems throughout the night-even to go to the bathroom
- Begins to forget things
- Becomes more moody or irritable/depressed
- Gets up with a headache
- Has fitful sleep
- Has impotence
- In children—perhaps bedwetting or night terrors-caused by inflammed tonsils at times.
Things you can do at home, simply, include..
- Losing weight
- Stopping smoking and drinking
- Avoiding sleeping pills
- Working out safely--doing yoga, aerobics and resistance training
- Don’t have caffeine after noon (per our team)!
- Going to sleep at a regular time every day
- Propping your head up
- Putting a tennis ball under your back while sleeping on your left side
- Using a saline spray before bed to clear your nasal passages
- Finding an app on your phone and record yourself sleeping as a home test for sleep apnea
- Avoiding allergens if you are allergic
- And optimizing your vitamin D!
If you suspect you or a loved one has sleep apnea, we recommend that you get a sleep study. This is an easy thing to do and can save your life!
Deep restorative sleep, not sleep deprivation, leads to sleep health which in turn leads to disease prevention! We can choose!
Choose to win!
[i] Ann Fam Med 2015 Jul-Aug; 13(4): 325-30 doi: 10.1370/afm.1815 Sleep Apnea and Risk of Panic Disorder SuVY, et al.
[ii] CMAJ, 2014 Apr 1: 186(6):415-21. Doi: 10.1503/cmaj.131547. Epub 2014 Mar 3. Sleep Apnea and risk of pneumonia: a nationwide population-based study. Su Vy, et al.
[iii] Sleep. 2015 Feb 1;38(2):213-21. Doi: 10.5665/sleep.4400 Sleep apnea and the risk of chronic kidney disease: a nationwide population-based cohort study. Lee YC, et al.
[iv] Sleep Apnea Statistics/The Statistics of Sleep Apnea-Sleepfoundation.org
[v] Brain Behav Immun 2015 Jul;47:211-7. Doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2014.11.013. Epub 2014 Dec 20. Gender differences in the association of sleep apnea and inflammation. Gaines J, et al.