Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Her Side of the Story: Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

A recent blog post on EmpowHer describes sleep apnea and snoring from the bed partner’s point of view.

“From time to time, my husband snores. Now, when I say snore, I mean a raising-the-dead-from-the-grave kind of S-N-O-R-E!” said Blogger Mary Kyle.

Kyle joked about muffling her husband’s snoring with “ear muffs designed to block out the sound of gun fire on the range,” but sleepless nights like these are common in many American households.

Snoring can be harmless. But some snoring signals obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Not all people who snore suffer from OSA. An estimated one in eight Americans snores. Of these 30 million snorers, more than half, or 18 million, suffer from sleep apnea.

Kyle explained her fear that in addition to causing marital strife and general grumpiness, OSA could raise her husband’s risk for heart disease.

Because people with OSA are forced to wake up throughout the night to breathe properly, they fail to get restorative sleep. Left untreated, OSA can increase their risk for heart attacks, strokes and hypertension.

Snoring that is associated with OSA is often loud and frequent. The snorer may make choking or snorting sounds while gasping for air. There may be moments of silence when the person stops breathing altogether. These pauses can last for 10 to 30 seconds or persist for a minute or longer.

Many people do not realize that snoring can merit medical attention. Read here why some experts believe popular media is partially to blame.

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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.