Renew Sleep Solutions :: Why Get Help?
FIVE REASONS YOU SHOULD NOT WAIT TO SCHEDULE.
If you snore, feel chronically fatigued, have trouble concentrating and staying awake during the day, or even feel depressed, you may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder. Here are five critical reasons to schedule your in-person consultation as soon as possible.
- You Might Have Sleep Apnea and Not Know It
Did you know that by some estimates, 9% of women and 24% of men have some form of sleep apnea, but only about 15% – 20% have been diagnosed? Or that once women reach post-menopausal age, their likelihood of having sleep apnea is about the same as men? Even children and infants can have sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is by far the most common form.
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed for several reasons. Primarily, symptoms (such as snoring, fatigue, depression, difficulty concentrating, sore throat, dry mouth, headaches) mimic those of other conditions many people with OSA have. These medical conditions include obesity, hypertension, diabetes, dementia, stroke and insomnia, so many doctors focus on those conditions instead, and miss the sleep apnea. Additionally, OSA is not easily detected during routine physical exams, nor are there any routine tests that would pick it up. Lastly, OSA only occurs during sleep, so if you sleep alone, no one may know you snore and gasp throughout the night.
- Your Undiagnosed Obstructive Sleep Apnea Is Costing You Money
Studies have shown than people with undiagnosed OSA visit doctors’ offices and hospitals far more frequently than people with similar health conditions whose OSA is being treated. You may be paying for tests and medications you don’t need, which could even worsen your OSA. For example, you may be prescribed sleeping pills for insomnia – but your insomnia is caused by your OSA, and sleeping pills often make OSA worse. The same can be true for depression. You may be taking antidepressants when you really need to be treated for OSA instead. OSA increases your risk for diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart attacks, dementia and even cancer, which will significantly increase your medical expenses if you develop any of these conditions. OSA may also be causing you to miss work, thereby reducing your income.
- Your Risk of Accidents Is Much Higher
Studies have found that people with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea have a significantly higher number of car and work-related accidents. OSA causes excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). Drivers with untreated OSA are two to three times more likely to have a car accident. This isn’t far behind the rate of accidents caused by drunk drivers. The same is true for the workplace. You are twice as likely to be in a work-related accident if you have untreated OSA. The rate of workplace errors is also much higher in people with daytime grogginess as well. You may end up with a life-altering injury or an injury resulting in death. In other words, you may die in an accident or spend your remaining days in a wheelchair. Seeking treatment for OSA can lower this risk significantly.
- Your Quality of Life and Relationships Are Jeopardized
If you’re chronically fatigued, depressed, can’t concentrate, perform poorly at work and lack the energy to engage in pleasurable activities, your quality of life is suffering. You also may be putting your career in jeopardy because of errors, accidents, frequent absences and low productivity. Your social relationships may be suffering as well. Your spouse or sleep partner may be unable to sleep in the same room as you due to your snoring, which impacts intimacy and sex. You may lack the energy to engage with your children or grandchildren, your friends, and your colleagues. Having a strong social network plays a significant role in your overall well-being. The bottom line is your undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea may be causing fatigue and depression, which are preventing you from enjoying your life.
- Your Undiagnosed OSA May Be Shortening Your Life
Researchers have found that OSA has been linked to a variety of life-threatening medical conditions, either increasing one’s risk of developing them or increasing their severity.
Cardiovascular Diseases: OSA has also been found to increase the rate of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure), heart failure, stroke, heart arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), myocardial ischemia (decreased blood flow to the heart) and pulmonary arterial hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs). In addition to increasing the risk of developing one or more of these cardiovascular conditions, sleep apnea can make them worse. For example, OSA exacerbates the brain damage caused by a stroke, and increases the risk of subsequent strokes. All of these conditions have a strong likelihood of shortening your life.
Diabetes: OSA has been found to increase insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Diabetes is very common among OSA sufferers, although both conditions have a strong correlation to obesity. An untreated diabetic attack can result in death.
Asthma: People with asthma have a higher rate of OSA and this can be a deadly combination. Both conditions involve swelling and constriction of the airway. OSA can worsen asthma and even trigger asthma attacks, which can cause death if untreated.
Brain Damage: Sleep apnea repeatedly starves the brain of oxygen, which it needs a steady supply of to function. The continuous lack of brain oxygen damages brain tissue. In addition, OSA can interfere with blood flow within the brain, causing spikes in blood pressure that damage the smaller arteries and capillaries within the brain. This has led researchers to believe that untreated OSA plays a factor in a variety of impaired cognition conditions, including dementia and other forms of memory loss.