April 2, 2011
One of the many causes of fatigue is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which the affected individual has pauses in his breathing or shallow breathing while sleeping. It is commonly associated with snoring; and, if you snore, you should be evaluated for sleep apnea.
Breathing pauses (apnea) last only seconds but can be devastating. Aside from interrupting sleep, oxygen levels in your blood stream can drop to dangerously low levels. Pauses often occur between 5 to 30 times or more an hour. The most common form of sleep apnea occurs because of an actual collapse or blockage of the airway.
This chronic sleep disturbance is associated with daytime fatigue, mental slowness, and memory loss. Patients with sleep apnea are at risk for obesity, hypertension, heart attacks, stroke and diabetes. The recurrent drop in oxygen levels during sleep can severely stress the body.
Sleep apnea can now be diagnosed in the patient’s own home. A simple, overnight sleep study done in the comfort of your own bed could not only improve the quality of your life, it could actually save your life. Studies have shown that the spouses of patients with sleep apnea have dysfunctional sleep patterns secondary to the loudness of their partners snoring. The spouse of a patient with sleep apnea may suffer from excessive fatigue, as well.
Sleep apnea can be treated with CPAP (a sleep machine), dental appliances and surgery. Patients treated for sleep apnea often report major improvements in the quality of their lives, as well as the lives of their families.
If you or a loved one snores or suffers from fatigue, see your doctor. The life you save may be your loved ones. Home sleep apnea testing will be available through Lake Zurich Family Treatment by the middle of April.