Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Trivializing Snoring: The Problem Popular Media Poses For OSA

Some medical experts believe that jokes about loud snoring on TV shows and movies have masked a serious medical condition, according to a recent Chicago Sun-Times article.

Popular media and everyday conversations can make light of snoring, and these experts worry that people do not know snoring can be a sign of sleep-disordered breathing.

Tuning-out snoring or sleeping in separate rooms can help spouses cope with the noise but may cover up a serious medical condition.

Loud snoring, along with excessive daytime sleepiness, can signal obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

OSA causes a person to stop breathing during sleep. It occurs when the soft tissue in the upper airway collapses, preventing airflow. These collapses can occur hundreds of times a night. They often last 10 to 30 seconds, but can persist for more than a minute. Each episode causes the brain to wake up the sleeper, disturbing their sleep.

Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of Northwestern Memorial's Sleep Disorders Center explained why treatment is important.

Patients’ blood pressure tends to surge because of repetitively waking up at night. Couple this with the lack of proper oxygen, what once seemed like a laughable and mildly annoying trait can, over the course of untreated years, lead to heart disease and stroke, she said.

Yesterday, this blog reported on the “Stop-Bang Questionnaire.” These eight questions can help determine if you or someone you know suffers from sleep apnea. This tool can gauge a person’s risk for sleep apnea, but a physician should diagnose the condition at a sleep center.

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Disclaimer

The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.