Do you secretly suffer from sleep apnoea?
ARE you excessively tired during the day? Do you wake up feeling unrefreshed? Are you grumpy and moody?
You could have sleep apnoea.
Men with obstructive sleep apnoea have repeated partial obstruction of the upper airway during deep sleep and this results in snoring and episodes of ceasing breathing for short periods of time.
When this occurs, the oxygen levels in the blood begin to fall and carbon dioxide levels rise until a protective mechanism kicks in and the body is startled to wake from the deep sleep.
Each time the sufferer goes back into the deep sleep, the same thing occurs and this can happen many times during each night.
As a result, there is insufficient deep sleep and ongoing tiredness occurs. It's often your bed partner who notices the snoring, the gasping and tossing and turning, etc.
Apart from the tiredness and grumpiness, obstructive sleep apnoea can cause more serious health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, erection problems, low testosterone levels and depression.
Men with obstructive sleep apnoea are two-and-a-half times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident because of decreased concentration and slower reaction times.
Most men with obstructive sleep apnoea are overweight however some men will have narrow facial structure or narrow throat and can still have the condition even if they are not overweight.
Sleep apnoea is diagnosed with a sleep study which will measure the stages of sleep, the number of arousals from deep sleep and the oxygen levels.
This study can be done in a sleep laboratory or at your own home. The results are analysed and a diagnosis is made.
Treatment includes losing weight if you are overweight or obese and may include various devices such as mouth splints through to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure masks ( CPAP devices).
There are even some surgical options can help if there is an abnormality of the anatomy of the upper throat.
Your sleep physician will advise on the best therapy for your particular condition.
So, if your partner says you snore and gasp at night, it would be worthwhile seeing your GP for a referral for a sleep study.
Not only will you feel brighter, happier and more alert, it may stop you from developing other serious health complaints.
* Dr Michael Gillman, DrMichaelGillman.com