April 16, 2011 in Features

Sleep apnea often undiagnosed

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar
 

Dear Annie: You told “Upset,” whose husband has no interest in sex, to have his testosterone level checked. Because “Upset” specifically mentioned their sleeping apart was due to his serious snoring, I suspect a much more likely cause of the problem is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Sleep apnea is now known to be linked to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes, diabetes, ED, depression and numerous other health problems. Common signs and symptoms of airway obstruction affecting breathing and sleep include: excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), snoring, hypertension, erectile dysfunction, personality changes, memory problems, a history of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease, and a history of diabetes. New research shows that more than 80 percent of diabetic patients may have sleep apnea.

Risk factors for sleep apnea include: age, gender (men are more likely to have sleep apnea, but women, especially after menopause, are at risk as well), neck size (more than 16.5 inches in men, greater than 15 inches in women), and BMI (Body Mass Index) over 30. “Upset” should get her husband to a knowledgeable physician for appropriate testing. The best is a polysomnogram, which requires an overnight stay in a sleep clinic. Find out more by going to the American Sleep Apnea Association website (sleepapnea.org), the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (aadsm.org) and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (aasmnet.org). – Thomas F. Armstrong, DDS, Bakersfield Dental Sleep Medicine-New Solutions for Snoring/Sleep Apnea/CPAP Intolerance, Bakersfield, Calif.

Dear Dr. Armstrong: We know our readers will benefit from your expertise on this common, but often undiagnosed condition.


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