Health & Medical Sleep Disorders

My Husband Snores Like a Bear - Is It Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common condition that affects as many Americans as diabetes.
Yet few people have heard of it.
Many that have dismiss it as 'the snoring disease'.
But it is much more serious than that.
It can lead to high blood pressure and increase the risk of having a stroke and other circulatory problems.
Anyone with sleep apnea should seek medical attention because of the complications that the disorder can bring.
Sleep apnea can affect anyone of any age.
But it tends to occur most frequently in men who are overweight and are 40 or over.
It can also be associated with people who smoke and drink.
Often the person who has the disorder is not aware of it.
It is the long-suffering bed partner who is kept awake at night who usually makes the first move in getting the condition sorted out.
Being kept awake with snoring is bad enough.
But listening to a spouse stop breathing, and waiting for them to start again can be frightening.
There are two main types of sleep apnea.
The type usually associated with snoring is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
This is also the most common.
It is caused by the relaxation of soft tissue in the back of the throat that blocks the passage of air.
But just because your partner snores doesn't mean that he has sleep apnea.
For a positive diagnosis to be made there has to be periods of cessation of breathing during the sleep.
This diagnosis can be confirmed by an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram.
These are usually carried out in special sleep laboratories where you are monitored by special equipment as well as a sleep technician.
The first step in getting one of these tests arranged is to visit your doctor.
There are a number of treatment options available if you do get a positive diagnosis.
These include surgical and non-surgical options.
The most common first-line treatment for OSA is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
This is a non-invasive device that delivers air to the patient under positive pressure, by use of a nasal mask.
This acts to keep the airways open.
It takes a little bit of time to get used to but many patients find that it can completely relieve symptoms.
Both the snoring and sleep apnea are brought under control.

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