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For some people, there’s no such thing as a good night’s sleep. No matter how early they go to bed -- or how many times they press the snooze button -- they still wake up groggy.
Sound familiar? If so, you could have sleep apnea, a potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
“Basically, in sleep apnea, your breathing is blocked or obstructed,” says Daniel Deetz, M.D., a pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist. “Your muscles relax during sleep, and for some people that narrows the airway enough that it interferes with breathing.”
Loud snoring may be one indication of the condition.
“If your spouse is elbowing you at night to get you to quit snoring, you might have sleep apnea,” says Dr. Deetz. “People often come in for evaluation because of a spouse’s concern about their snoring.”
Other symptoms of the disorder include sleepiness during the day, waking abruptly and short of breath, and waking up with a headache, dry mouth or sore throat. Insomnia and attention problems can also be signs. A sleep study (see sidebar) can diagnose the condition.
Sleep apnea can lead to a host of serious health problems, including high blood pressure and heart problems. Fortunately, Dr. Deetz says there are good treatment options available, including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and dental appliances that help keep the airway open.
“Treating sleep apnea can lead to a huge improvement in quality of life,” says Dr. Deetz. “It’s great to see the change in patients.”
What happens during a sleep study
During a sleep study, a technologist attaches electrodes to your body. These flat metal discs connect by wire to an electroencephalography (EEG) machine to record brain wave activity; heart and lung functions; movements of the eyes, chin, abdomen, chest and legs; and muscle activity. The technologist will monitor the information while you sleep. If sleep apnea is detected, you may be awakened and asked to try using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help keep your airway open. A sleep medicine doctor will review your sleep study results and discuss treatment options, if needed.
Scheduling a sleep study
Sleep studies are available at various Mayo Clinic Health System sites. Click here for more information.
Sleep apnea: Are you at risk?
While anyone can develop sleep apnea, certain factors put you at greater risk.
Obstructive sleep apnea risk factors:
- Excess weight
- A thick neck
- A narrowed airway
- Being male
- Being over 60
- Family history
- Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers
- Nasal congestion
Central sleep apnea risk factors:
- Being male
- Being over 65
- Having a heart disorder
- Having a stroke or brain tumor
Topics in this Post
AbrarAhmad Monday, November 7, 2016
There are a few reasons you are feeling tired without any reason. One of them is anemia, which is a lack of red blood cells and conversely, oxygen from the lungs is not properly brought to the tissues and cells. Anemia may be caused by deficiency of vitamins or minerals, internal bleeding or chronic diseases. Women who are at “that time” of the month are susceptible to anemia as blood is lost during menstruation. Still, iron deficiency due to menstruation is less than in pregnant women or lactating mothers, as their body needs extra iron to maintain healthy blood levels. Things may also go wrong when your thyroid glands refuse to cooperate with you. Thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) are responsible for metabolic processes in the body. Too much thyroid hormone causes hyperthyroidism which speeds up metabolism while too little thyroid hormone slows down metabolism. Hyperthyroidism causes fatigue and muscle weakness and starts in the thighs. Doing energy demanding activities become difficult and other symptoms include weight loss, feeling warm, shorter menstruations, increased heart rate and thirst. Hypothyroidism also causes fatigue and muscle weakness. The symptoms are reversed to hyperthyroidism such as weight gain, feeling cold and longer menstruations. Diabetes, notorious for causing a range of problems in the body, is also related to fatigue. As glucose is the staple fuel of the body, it is not utilized properly in patients with type 2 diabetes as the absence of insulin causes the glucose to build up in the body. Without its staple fuel, the tissues of the body are not nourished properly and causes fatigue. Sadly, being sad can also be the reason you feel tired. Depression induces negative feelings and also has negative effects on the body as it causes a reduction in energy levels, changes in sleep and eating patterns, decreased concentration and overall laziness and worthlessness which keeps you in bed all day. Reference: http://bit.ly/2f9bC1e
Luke McMasters Monday, October 3, 2016
I might need to participate in one of these sleep studies. My snoring wakes up my wife a lot, so that's reason enough to do something about it. If it's sleep apnea, I need to do my best to mitigate the potential risks involved. Where do I sign up for a sleep clinic? http://sleepsurgery.com.au/sleep-studies
Erika Brady Thursday, September 15, 2016
I didn't know a whole lot about sleep apnea, so this was great information to start. It seems like there are a lot of symptoms involved. I am constantly elbowing my husband at night to keep him from snoring... hopefully he does not have sleep apnea, but i'm sure trying a sleep study wouldn't hurt. I'm glad I could learn about them on here. http://www.onsiteexam.com/#!sleep-apnea/u26do
Kyle Ross Friday, January 8, 2016
This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that always waking up groggy could indicate sleep apnea. I've been working on improving how much time I sleep each night, and I've gotten to a pretty consistent eight hours, but I'm still really tired when I wake up most days. I'll definitely look into being tested to see my problem is from sleep apnea. Thanks for the great post! http://www.qualitydentalcare.org