Man and dog sleeping on the sofa

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It’s now 3:00 am,  and your partner is snoring.  Yes, again.  While sometimes this is viewed as a laughable condition, there’s nothing funny about snoring.

Not everyone realizes the risks that may be faced by someone with a serious snoring problem.  This seemingly innocent condition can actually degenerate into sleep apnea, a chronic sleep disorder that can cause several negative health effects.  If you are a snorer, it’s vital to find out whether or not you may have sleep apnea.  Left untreated, this condition can be quite threatening to your health.

If you think that you might be suffering from sleep apnea,  ask yourself some basic questions.  If you’re unsure of the answers,  ask your partner for  her or his insight.

*  Do you snore regularly?

*  Does your snoring cause to wake you or your partner at night?

*  Do you ever wake up in the night, gasping for air or choking?

If your reply is “yes” to any of these questions,  you may be suffering with sleep apnea.

Apnea occurs when there is a blockage of the airway,  serious enough to actually stop breathing for 10 seconds or even longer.  Usually, a person with apnea can wake up a number of times throughout the evening.  This regular disruption of sleep will leave him or her feeling irritable and unable to focus the next day.

Some people who suffer serious cases of sleep apnea may wake as many as 100 times per night.  Those afflicted will often wake up with headaches due to lack of oxygen.  Morning headache is a sure sign of apnea, along with changes in personality, rapid weight gain, memory loss, depression, and a short attention span.

If these conditions sound familiar, you may want to discuss  with your doctor about the possibility that you suffer with sleep apnea.  You can also use a tape recorder to document yourself breathing while you sleep.  If you notice often breathing cessations, consider going to the hospital for a polysomnography test.   During this overnight study, your sleep will be observed, allowing your doctor to make a proper diagnosis.  Insurance carriers often cover this harmless test.

A sleep diary can also be helpful in pre-diagnosing sleep apnea.  Your bed partner will keep a sleep diary kit handy, consisting of a pen, notebook  and flashlight.   If and when your snoring wakes your bed partner, he or she will make note of certain  issues of your sleeping.  The diary notation should record whether or not you are snoring, whether you are asleep or not,  how loud your snoring is, and whether or not you seem to be having problem breathing.  This simple notebook can really help you to figure out the extent of your problem.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to an increased risk of stroke or heart problems.  And that’s definitely no laughing matter.

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Filed under: Sleep Apnea