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Are you suffering from sleep apnea?

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Do you wake up exhausted even though you slept for 8 hours? Well, maybe you didn't actually sleep that entire time and don’t even know it. Whether it be you or your loved one, snoring may be more than just annoying – it may be a sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
It is estimated that around 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder that can cause you to stop breathing during sleep.

People with sleep apnea characteristically make periodic gasping or “snorting” noises, during which their sleep is momentarily interrupted. Many people do not wake up when this occurs and are never aware of the problem. As a result, many cases go undiagnosed and untreated despite how common the disorder is.

People who suffer from sleep apnea report symptoms such as snoring, sleep disruption, frequent nighttime urination, morning headaches and daytime drowsiness.

“These symptoms serve as warning signs for the disorder and should not be ignored,” said Dave Sprecher, RPSGT, Sauk Prairie Healthcare’s Sleep Center. “When left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to conditions like high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, depression, memory problems, weight gain, and even car accidents from falling asleep while driving.”
For some, weight loss, not drinking alcohol, and not sleeping on the back may help.

If these remedies do not work for you, you should talk to your doctor. Breathing machines called CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) or oral appliances may be the answer.

Sleep apnea is a chronic health problem and its symptoms can progress over time. If you believe you suffer from sleep apnea, it is important to seek treatment.

The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research reports an average of 38,000 deaths per year as a result of cardiovascular problems connected to sleep apnea and encourages anyone who might suffer from the disorder or its symptoms, to seek help and consult their doctor before problems worsen.

If you think you might have sleep apnea, you should visit a Sleep Center where you might participate in a sleep study. The study will be able to determine whether you suffer from the disorder and the severity of your condition; based on that information, a treatment plan can be prescribed. Talk to your primary care provider to see if a sleep study is right for you.