L26 — June 2011 — Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Intro: There's nothing like a good night's sleep. But for people with obstructive sleep apnea, decent shut-eye is hard to get. They often snore and repeatedly stop breathing during the night. This not only causes daytime sleepiness, but also other health issues. More on risks of sleep apnea and what you can do about it from Mayo Clinic.
As an elementary school principal, Todd Kieffer runs at top speed most of the time. But that wasn’t so easy when he struggled with symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
I was extremely tired during the day. I didn't feel like I had the stamina to keep going, keep going, keep going.
Todd hadn't had a decent night's sleep in years.
I knew I had a problem because my entire family couldn't sleep.
Loud snoring. Then he'd stop breathing.
Then I'd do a snort and kind of wake up.
Obstructive sleep apnea can deprive you of sound sleep and make you tired during the day. It can also cause serious health issues.
I can't help but think that it's going to have some impact on your health down the road.
Usually we talk about cardiovascular disease as the major problem. If you have severe, untreated sleep apnea, your risk of dying from a heart attack and stroke is quite a bit higher than the normal population.
Sleep specialist Dr. Joseph Kaplan says obstructive sleep apnea may also aggravate diabetes, and it may contribute to mental slowing and memory difficulties. Plus the associated daytime sleepiness increases the likelihood of motor vehicle accidents from driving drowsy. So what do you do if you think you have it? A sleep study during which you go in for overnight monitoring can help your doctor confirm the diagnosis.
He said you actually stopped breathing 70 times every hour.
No wonder Todd was always tired. You see, snoring happens when the back of your tongue and throat relax and restrict airflow. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your throat relaxes to the point where it blocks breathing. A C-PAP machine is a device you wear over your nose. It provides air pressure while you breathe, which keeps the back of your throat open.
The device made a huge difference in Todd's life.
Because I know that in the morning I'm going to be so much more alert.
More productive, healthier and better able to keep up with the kids.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Todd says his dad also had sleep apnea. Research shows it may run in families. The condition is also associated with obesity. Again, Dr. Kaplan says if you think you might have sleep apnea, see your doctor.
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