Blog Post

Silent Killers: Snoring and Sleep Apnea

What do Rosie O’Donnell, Reggie White, and Shaquille O’Neal have in common? Sleep apnea. Surprised?

You may also be surprised to know that 80% of people who snore have some degree of sleep apnea. We work with many medical specialists in our area to provide treatment for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. This week’s blog will look at what sleep apnea is and why you should be aware of it.

Here are common symptoms associated with sleep apnea. Have you noticed any of these symptoms?sleep apnea

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Untreated apnea has associated health risks of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks and heart failure, diabetes, depression, worsening ADHD, and even death. The most known tragedy of sleep apnea is the death of Reggie White. It was later put into the spotlight by Shaquille O’Neal and Rosie O’Donnell to raise the awareness that it is a serious condition that needs to be treated.

Treatment for sleep apnea depends on the severity of the condition. Options include positional therapy, oral sleep appliance, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), or for severe apnea dual therapy (oral appliance and CPAP). Surgical options are also a consideration in which the uvula is removed and parts of the throat are reshaped to enlarge the airway. This short video illustrates sleep apnea and appliance therapy very well.

CPAP is the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment but many people are unable to tolerate it. Sometimes the air pressure is too much or they feel claustrophobic. According to the American Academy for Sleep Medicine, oral appliance therapy is the first choice of treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea. An oral sleep appliance is generally covered under medical insurance, including Medicare.

If you have concerns, the first step is to talk with your doctor. They will have you do a sleep test to see exactly what conditions you have going on and the best way to treat you.