What if you never feel well-rested?

Do you think your spouse has sleep apnea?

We are hearing more and more lately about the dangers to our overall health from not getting proper sleep. The words “sleep debt” are often written about in the medical literature, and this refers to the additive effect of not getting enough sleep.  These studies have also pointed to increased risk of an alarming number of health issues from not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.  These issues include the following:

  1. decreases lifespan (on average reduced by 20 years if sleep apnea untreated)
  2. raises blood pressure
  3. increases risk for atrial fibrillation
  4. increases risk for stroke by 8x (2x as much as high blood pressure or diabetes does)
  5. increases risk for heart attack by 23x (>3x as much as smoking or high blood pressure does)
  6. increases risk of congestive heart failure
  7. decreases blood flow to the brain (night and day)
  8. impairs concentration and memory (imaging brain shows permanent changes similar to Alzheimer’s)
  9. causes impotence
  10. causes acid reflux
  11. causes obesity and type 2 diabetes
  12. increases anxiety
  13. causes teeth clenching and grinding, leading to deterioration of teeth, muscle tension headaches and aggrevation of TMJ/TMD symptoms
  14. causes morning headaches from buildup of excessive carbon dioxide in lungs
  15. increases stress, irritability and aggressive behavior
  16. causes depression
  17. causes lowered pain tolerance
  18. suppresses the immune system
  19. impairs healing and growth
  20. causes nocturia (waking up to get up in the night to urinate)
  21. causes enuresis (bed wetting) in children

My doctor said I have sleep apnea!

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) increases in occurence and severity with age, weight gain and respiratory depressing medications. The average lifespan of people with untreated sleep apnea is 55 yrs , which is an average reduction of 22 years! Studies have also shown that as many as 90% of patients with sleep apnea are undiagnosed and/or untreated.  This is the scariest statistic of all, because treatment is available!

But I don’t want to wear one of those machines!

We hear this all the time from patients! Often times, the fear of “how bad” treatment will be can prevent patients from even asking for help or information.  This, in my opinion, is crazy! There are patient who love wearing a “sleep machine” (CPAP) because they finally feel good when they wake up, and true enough there are others who for a variety of reasons don’t tolerate it well.  But understand, there are always options.  It is truly in your best interest to fully investigate any possibilities for treatment before deciding to do nothing.  If you need to be convinced…reread the list above.  Scary stuff.  Please ask your doctor for advice, or contact us for more information.